Betting on motor sports has some way to go to rival football’s popularity but its market share is growing and growing rapidly.
An estimated 60% of online bookmaker’s turnover comes from ‘the beautiful game’ with the English Premier League being the jewel in the crown. Resultantly there are numerous valuable sponsorships with the top clubs and scores of similar alignments with teams amongst within the lower leagues.
However, some experts now believe that football has reached saturation point with fewer new or potential customers left in the marketplace and the return on investment is shrinking. So, will Motorsports come to the rescue of bookmaker’s marketing managers?
Fans in the millions, bets in the hundreds
While bookmaking companies are notoriously coy about their most popular and profitable betting mediums, it is believed Formula 1 already makes up 2% of their betting turnover and it is often quoted that an F1 fan’s betting account is worth three times that of a traditionally sourced punter.
A scout through the latest betting offers the UK’s major bookmakers – Ladbrokes, bet365, William Hill, Befair et-al – are currently advertising shows they are leaving no stone unturned when it comes to betting on various race outcomes.
The average Formula 1 race weekend will see well over 200 different betting opportunities (there will be even more for the British Grand Prix) with everything covered from ‘Qualification Winner’ to ‘Race Winner’ allied to ‘Podium Finish’, ‘Points Finish’, ‘Winning Margin’, ‘Total Finishers’ and a whole lot more.
Furthermore Fernando Alonso’s appearance in the Indy 500 saw a surge in betting on a race few of the British televisual audience previously knew existed and MotoGP is another motorsport which has risen from betting obscurity to be a sizeable beep on bookmaker’s radars.
In offering so many motor sporting genres and so many betting opportunities the bookmakers are declaring they are now doing some considerable ‘business’ on motor racing and the natural progression for them is sponsorship.
Firms have certainly tinkered with motorsport sponsorship in the past. Eurobet were ahead of their time when putting their livery on the TWR Arrows car during the 2000 F1 season. More recently, and at the other end of the scale, Ladbrokes sponsored the drift racing exploits of pop-star Shane Lynch (from Boyzone).
British Grand Prix could be a Crown Jewel
But it is the global TV viewing audience of 400 million people, an additional estimated 100 million watching F1 races illegally / incalculably online, and the three-day attendance of 400,000 at Silverstone which British gambling entity are surely eyeing up.
Alternatively an alliance with an entire team may not be out of the question. The last such tie-up was online poker site Full Tilt being liveried on a Marussia Virgin in 2010.
And when the floodgates inevitably open will motor racing enjoy a sponsorship frenzy akin to cigarette sponsorship in the 1990’s?
Let us not forget nine of the top 10 drivers in the 1995 world Championship competed in cars with the logos of cigarette brands plastered on the side of their cars, Marlboro and Rothmans being the most prominent.
These were halcyon days for Formula 1 and ones the sports new ringmasters would surely love to return to.