DOVER, Del. – If you’re one to place a wager here or there, don’t be surprised if a prop bet pops up on your smartphone right in the middle of a NASCAR race.
You might have the chance, for instance, to bet on which team can deliver the fastest green-flag pit stop.
That sort of action will be the most obvious offshoot of a partnership between NASCAR and Genius Sports, announced Friday at Dover International Speedway.
Given the growing number of states that allow sports betting, NASCAR saw an opportunity to team with Genius Sports, the global leader in sports data solutions, according to NASCAR president Steve Phelps.
“It really started with understanding the marketplace,” Phelps told the NASCAR Wire Service, “understanding what other sports were doing, understanding what the opportunities have been internationally, because the domestic portion of this has grown relatively quickly.
“You look at the number of states that are coming on board, it’s just going to grow and grow and grow. It was important for us to figure out, ‘All right, what does it mean for NASCAR? What’s special about this from a NASCAR perspective, because we’re different from other sports. For us, understanding what needs to happen from the integrity side was critically important.”
Genius Sports will use NASCAR’s proprietary timing and scoring data to develop in-race wagering opportunities that go far beyond the pre-race propositions that currently exist at sports books. The early stages of the roll-out will serve as a beta test for which sorts of wagers are most popular with race fans.
The live betting product will be available to sports books that purchase service through Genius Sports, which already works with numerous sporting bodies, including the NBA, NCAA, PGA Tour and English Premier League (soccer).
“The in-race betting may take different forms,” said Chris Dougan, chief communications officer for Genius Sports. “It may be high graphics, with a swipe-right system, where we simplify the in-game bet, like the time on a pit stop—how long is that going to be?
“What it will look like will vary according to the distribution channel and the sports book that chooses to go with us. So we will offer a range of different products, depending on the market and depending on the state.”
Dougan expects the partnership to enliven the existing sports books that offer betting on NASCAR events.
“We believe that this rich data and split-second data feed will revolutionize the way that books look at NASCAR at the moment. By presenting new bet types, by producing products and services that will deliver a wholly different experience in NASCAR, we will see how you can watch the feed, get an overlay of deep data—rich stats—and then place your bet.
“That drives engagement in a completely revolutionary way.”
Phelps says the timing of the launch of the product will depend on how quickly Genius Sports can sell it to various sports books.
“So it’s going to be kind of an evolutionary thing, and it’s just going to continue to gain momentum,” Phelps said.