Formula One Invests in Fantasy SportsJake Cooper | 25 Apr 2018
Formula One Group, the brand behind the Formula One World Championship, has officially ventured into the realm of fantasy sports. Last week, the Group announced that it had acquired an equity stake in daily fantasy sports platform, PlayON.
The acquisition, secured at a company valuation of £30 million, sees PlayON become the official daily fantasy partner (DFP) of Formula One. The partnership will include a range of new fantasy races as well as a media rights arrangement with F1 Group.
Notably, this is Formula One Group’s first ever buy-in into an external company. The move forms part of F1’s current expansion into the digital sphere in order to target a younger market segment across a broader geographical range.
F1 Fantasy Sports Races
Part of what makes PlayON unique from other fantasy sports platforms is the fact that it runs daily games, instead of operating on a season-by-season basis.
As the official DFP of Formula One, PlayON will allow fans to select a fantasy team of five F1 drivers and one constructor ahead of each race. Points are then awarded for, among other things, fastest laps, positions gained, and, of course, finishing places.
These will be available for both free and real-money play, depending on market regulations, and will be customised for local audience preferences and languages.
Live Race Footage
PlayON Founder and Chief Executive, Killian Jones told the press that a pivotal part of the deal involves the inclusion of live Formula One races on the PlayON platform. This will be linked to Formula One’s own streaming offering, F1 TV, which is scheduled to go live next month.
Jones said that the combination of PlayON’s daily fantasy races and live sport would make for a completely immersive sports entertainment experience for fans worldwide. He explained that the fantasy sports company’s objective is to provide the ultimate in digital sports entertainment and that PlayON was looking forward to working toward this goal in partnership with the F1 team.
A Safe Bet
PlayON’s other stand-out feature is the fact that it only offers real-money games to customers in regulated territories.
Formula One’s Director of Digital and New Business, Frank Arthofer revealed that the Group has great faith in PlayON’s strict approach to regulation. He said that the company’s policy of only operating real-money games in territories with clearly defined regulatory frameworks enables F1 to enter the daily fantasy market with no concerns with regard to legality.
Opening up the US
Until recently, this included Great Britain, Ireland and Australia but the operator used the F1 partnership announcement to reveal that it is now also entering parts of the United States.
PlayON’s Killian Jones explained that this timing is ideal as the regulatory environment of fantasy sports markets in various US states is being clearly established at present. It also supports F1’s drive to target younger audiences in this key strategic market.