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Volume 26 No. 48
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F1 Signs $100M Deal To Sell Sponsorships To Betting Companies

F1 signed a deal for more than $100M to "sell sponsorships to betting companies, signalling a radical shift for the sport under its new ownership," according to a front-page piece by Murad Ahmed of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Liberty Media, which acquired F1 in '16, signed a contract with London-based marketing agency Interregional Sports Group for "global rights to gambling sponsorships in F1." ISG will "pay an upfront fee to Liberty" as part of the deal. The agency will "recoup its money -- and hope to profit -- by striking a series of separate deals with gambling sponsors in different markets worldwide." Sponsors will be "permitted to have their brands shown 'trackside,' such as through electronic billboards and on-screen graphics during televised races." Former F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone "refused to accept endorsements from betting groups, believing they would tarnish the sport’s glamorous image." But F1 Managing Dir of Commercial Operations Sean Bratches said that the deal was a "'fan-centric move,' as millions of viewers had grown accustomed to gambling partnerships in other sports." Bratches added that the income would "improve the spectacle, funding teams that incur enormous costs to compete." Bratches did not comment on the deal's precise value. However, sources said it amounted to "at least" $100M over five years. Ahmed notes that would put it alongside F1’s "biggest sponsorship deals, such as with luxury watchmaker Rolex" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 9/18).

INTEGRITY CHECKS: CNBC.com's Adam Reed notes the F1-ISG deal "also involves integrity service Sportradar, which has come on board to help ISG and gambling companies use data to create markets and spot any suspicious betting patterns." Sportsradar Managing Dir of Group Operations David Lampitt said, "Through this collaboration with Formula One, we're delighted that fans will receive an exciting and safe betting experience and we look forward to further developing the F1 fan experience" (CNBC.com, 9/18).