NASCAR announced a deal on Friday with Genius Sports that will put sports bettors in the driver’s seat. The goal is to create a new live betting platform for sportsbooks exclusive to the series.
Genius is a global leader in sports data and will develop a betting offering unique for motorsports. Betting on NASCAR is not uncommon, and futures wagering and weekly races are regularly offered by books.
Genius has experience in the industry. The company already partners with the NBA, NCAA, and Bundesliga soccer in Germany.
Good timing for the betting green flag
This is just the latest deal for sports leagues partnering with betting and sports data sites. NASCAR officials hope the new initiative will enhance the race day experience and keep fans engaged.
For the racing circuit, it could be nice timing. NASCAR has experienced ratings and attendance declines in recent years.
“According to estimates from journalists at the track, there were between 35,000 and 40,000 at the race, won by, guess who, Kyle Busch,” a recent Bloomberg story noted. “Bristol Motor Speedway, nestled in the mountains on the Tennessee-Virginia line, has a seating capacity of 162,000.”
An energetic focus on betting offers some hope to at least stop some of that bleeding.
“Partnering with Genius Sports allows us to deliver a dynamic fan engagement platform in the rapidly-growing world of legalized sports gaming,” NASCAR senior vice president of broadcasting and innovation Brian Herbst said in a statement announcing the deal.
“This new relationship will provide another entry point to the sport and complements our strategy to create a more immersive experience for fans.”
This is Genius
Racing is already a game of numbers. Fans are familiar with speeds, lap times, RPMs, and much more relevant data.
As the exclusive provider of NASCAR data to licensed sportsbooks, Genius hopes to harness some of that data for bettors in a live experience.
Only legally regulated sportsbooks will be able to use the platform. This is the first of its kind for the stock car circuit, which was founded in 1948.
“NASCAR fans are some of the most devoted in the world, and we look forward to helping them to create a deeper, more connected experience that is both safe and secure as the business of sports betting continues to evolve in the U.S.,” Genius Sports CEO Mark Locke said.
“Furthermore, our global relationships will help bring the excitement of NASCAR racing to new audiences both within the U.S. and in new territories around the world.”
A look to the future
For NASCAR, there may be some positive signs that effort might work. Sports betting was recently legalized in some NASCAR hotbeds.
A glance at the NASCAR schedule shows it might be well-positioned to take advantage of the new sports betting landscape. Other states with NASCAR events that are legalizing sports betting include:
- New Hampshire
- New York
- North Carolina
Many NASCAR fans are already heavily engaged at the track. Many listen in to communications between pit crews and drivers while at the track.
Mobile betting options seem like an extension on that. Fans could engage with the actual race through the Genius platform, but more will have to be seen.
NASCAR comes to the agreement prepared. Before the season, it developed a sports integrity program and gambling policy.
That allowed teams and tracks to sell sponsorships to sports-betting companies and licensed sportsbooks. Racing officials hope these recent moves allow the organization to hit the accelerator when it comes to winning back fans.