Pole position

By Peter Lynch

Certainly no stranger to the processing and manipulation of data, Sportradar is currently exploring such avenues in the world of Formula One, with in-race betting set to be the subject of industry talk in the near future.

Speaking at Sportradar Connect - F1 Edition: How Data is Shaping the Fan Experience, part of the group’s Connect series that provides insight on the business of sport, technology and innovation, Hamish Bicket, director of sports content and partnerships at Sportradar, explains the path that F1 currently finds itself on.

“It's the first time that you see this type of sport that is being developed from a betting perspective,” says Bicket. “So typically your most popular betting sports - football, basketball, tennis - are focused on team A versus team B, or player A versus player B. What we're looking at with F1 is a field of competitors, so 20 different drivers. And our team did a remarkable job looking at previously unreleased historical data that was made available to us from F1, and building a live data and a live odds product that we brought to market.

“And what we've seen - despite sadly a pandemic interrupted first season - is growing interest now from the betting industry around that, to take live data and live odds in-race, and the ability to place bets in-race, which has never been done before, or if it's been done, you haven't had the same number of markets and possibilities you'd be able to bet on. So we're seeing that grow, and we hope that continues to build in momentum.”

Sportradar is taking advantage of the exciting advancements within F1, but it’s also an important moment for other industries, namely rights holders. Bicket suggests that the conversation about data to change the thinking of these rights holders and how they do things is an important one to have, not only in terms of F1 but for other sports as well.

“I think rights holders now are becoming more aware of the value of the data that they have,” explains Bicket. “We've seen that with F1 now, developing their live data betting product. Again, the old adage ‘data is the new oil’ I think has been around for several years now, and they understand that they have this source available to them, which can do so much.

“So, not only from a media perspective in terms of the added value that it brings, but also the ability to be able to monetise that, again, reverting back to a betting perspective, they're able to generate this additional revenue source that sometimes previously they never had. This is the case with F1 and with other sports too. It's vitally important.”

Remaining with F1, however, data is crucial in providing a new and exciting way for fans to enjoy and interact with the sport. Within this enjoyment and interaction is sports betting, which, according to Bicket, relies heavily on data to build the all-important infrastructure to make it possible.

“Data is a vital component for media, broadcast and betting,” he says. “They're all using data to give the general public, punters and, in particular, fans a more engaging experience. I think it's important to differentiate. From a betting perspective, data has always been vital to the sports betting industry; it's the lifeblood of the industry. Without it, you're not able to create the type of markets that we do.

“And now what you see in those other areas, in the media and broadcast industries, is you've got the additional graphics widgets, which are adding to the fan experience, in-play and on screen. This is what the younger generation craves. They are data hungry and very tech savvy, and they need that experience now in order to be able to enjoy it as much as they do.”


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