NASCAR Bets On Fan Engagement With Genius Sports


NASCAR recently announced a new partnership with Genius Sports to be the official provider of racing data to licensed sportsbooks. This enables Genius Sports to provide the NASCAR official data necessary to for sportsbooks to provide, “up-to-the-minute odds and a slew of traditional wagers and prop bets.”

This partnership deal may seem like NASCAR is putting the cart before the horsepower. For example, only one-tenth of one percent of all sports bets ($208.1 thousand out of $154.8 million) has been wagered on auto racing from June 5, 2018 through April 28, 2019. NASCAR could rightfully counter that this deal provides the necessary fuel (last racing pun we promise) to increase the number of bets given that Genius Sports can provide the information sports bettors need to get more involved with the sport.

However, NASCAR’s deal is not only about increasing the number of sports bets by current sports bettors. As Genius spokesman Chris Dougan said, "What could happen in the next five seconds? What could happen in the next lap? It opens the door to a massively exciting new market. NASCAR is now starting to recognize this is a huge fan engagement tool. We give them that distribution and that reach."

When the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), many thought that this would be a boon for sports leagues and teams. While leagues have been unable to charge the integrity fees to monitor sports bets that they originally would have preferred, leagues and teams are signing on new partners endemic to gambling.

Yet, the NASCAR and Genius Sports partnership highlights the bigger opportunity which is potentially for sports right holders to sign more non-endemic sponsors because of gambling. One of the most common questions that Block Six Analytics (B6A) hears from current and potential clients is how do we demonstrate to non-endemic partners or companies unfamiliar with our sport how they will generate value through a new relationship.

Gambling and non-endemic partnerships demonstrate one of the benefits of using B6A’s Corporate Asset Valuation (CAV) model. One critical reason that companies want to partner with sports organizations is the level of fan engagement. In particular, fans have a figurative investment in their favorite leagues, teams, athletes, and / or events.

Making it easier for people to gamble on NASCAR makes it easier to change figurative investments into literal ones. This makes it more likely that the exact people companies want to reach are now more likely to be involved with a sport. These fans are often disproportionately more diverse, higher-income, and / or more highly educated audiences that companies want to target.

The CAV model translates increased engagement into tangible return on investment (ROI) and return on objective (ROO) metrics. In essence, no partner is “non-endemic” if the company can understand the specific economic and brand impact that having increased fan engagement has for each company given its business goals. The CAV enables our team to develop the insights within the Partnership Scoreboard that enables our clients to communicate this value to non-endemic partners.

While sponsorship plays arguably as big role in NASCAR as in any other sport, connecting with non-endemic partners is a challenge not unique to NASCAR.  Betting enables having an increasing number of these demographics to have an increased likelihood of engaging with a game, contest, or event because they are literally invested in the outcome. Companies of all types can be the beneficiaries of this engaging content by activating partnerships with sports organizations in ways that maximize the likelihood of connecting with their audiences.