Once NASCAR came out last year and opened their “doors” in support of a legalized sports betting industry, it was only a matter of time before we saw gambling and sports betting companies sponsored on race cars. Well, that time is now.
NASCAR kicked off the post-holiday weekend with the announcement that they will allow all racing teams the opportunity to have sports betting and gambling sponsorships on their cars. This is a ground breaking rule change that will definitely trickle down into other professional sports in the United States.
NASCAR is also looking to find one major sports betting sponsorship for the sport as a whole. Currently, NASCAR’s top brass are in discussions with several major players in the industry.
This approach falls in line with what the sport did last year when they had the foresight to forge a deal with Sportradar to track all of the sports betting and gambling data related to their sport.
NBC and Fox are the two primary networks that broadcast NASCAR’s races whether it’s on their main stations or their respective sports channels Fox Sports 1 and NBC Sports. Both networks have stated that they will not cover a race car with a sports betting or gambling sponsor any different than a race car that doesn’t have these types of sponsors.
For example, if Martin Truex Jr. gets a primary sponsorship from someone like William Hill then the networks will acknowledge his car as the “William Hill car” or “Truex’s William Hill car,” just like they would with Jimmie Johnson’s Lowes car.
However there will be a distinction between “covering” a car and “additional exposure” like placing in-car cameras within a car that has a sports betting sponsorship. This difference is due to the states that have not already legalized sports betting. Coverage is one thing, additional exposure is another.
For example, Delaware and Nevada have annual NASCAR races and each state allows sports betting. Networks can legally give additional exposure in these states, but not states like California, Florida, etc.
Last summer, numerous NASCAR drivers publicly supported legalized sports betting and discussed how it could help their sport. Dale Earnhardt Jr., one of this generation’s most popular drivers, made the following comments on sports betting:
“I think it would create more excitement, bring more attention, more people in attendance. I can see it having a ton of positives.”
Kyle Busch was one of the first drivers to come out last year and fully support sports betting:
“I don’t think there’s a negative to it. Being from Las Vegas, that’s the mecca for gambling in the country, and it’s pretty neat that you have this opportunity for fans to be able to bet on your sport. I think it’ll put more eyeballs on the sport. I think it’ll bring some interest to the sport.
Since then, drivers have continued to express positive opinions on how sports betting will increase ratings and fan engagement. It will be interesting to see which teams and drivers end up with large sports betting sponsorships.
NASCAR’s Daytona 500, the biggest race of the season, will kick off the 2019 season and take place on February 17th. Fox TV will broadcast the annual “Super Bowl of NASCAR,” which will give us our first glimpse at potential sports betting or gambling sponsors and how the network will “cover” them.
Currently, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick are tied as the odds on favorites to win this race at +900 odds, according to MyBookie. Other popular drivers have the following NASCAR betting odds:
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