F1 deal puts Irish fantasy sports firm in pole position
Fantasy sports company PlayOn has entered a strategic partnership with Formula 1.
The deal, which sees Formula 1 take an equity stake in PlayOn, values the Irish company at almost €35m.
PlayOn will now become the official 'Daily Fantasy Partner' of Formula 1, in a move that will include the integration of live Formula 1 grands prix, via Formula 1's new media service F1 TV, on to the PlayOn platform in key markets.
"The combination of live sport and PlayOn's daily fantasy games will provide a fully immersive entertainment experience to our customers around the world," said PlayOn founder and CEO Killian Jones.
"PlayOn's goal is to deliver the ultimate digital sports entertainment experience to sports fans. We look forward to working closely with the Formula 1 team in pursuit of this goal."
Meanwhile, for Formula 1 the deal, which is the first time the sport has taken an equity stake in an external company, allows the group to make an investment in fantasy sports and reach a wider and younger audience.
"Formula 1 is continuously looking for ways to engage with new audiences, particularly in the digital space," said Formula 1 director of digital and new business Frank Arthofer.
"We believe in PlayOn and its strict approach to regulation - only operating real-money games in territories that have a clearly established regulatory framework in place," Mr Arthofer said.
"This enables F1 to enter the daily fantasy market without concern over legality."
Founded in 2011 by former financial analyst Mr Jones, PlayOn has grown into an international sports entertainment company, with registered customers in more than 100 countries.
The company, which has already secured deals with the likes of the National Basketball Association (NBA) in the United States and the European Golf Tour, allows real-money game entries to customers based in the UK, Ireland and Australia.
PlayOn also says that, in light of the regulatory environment around daily fantasy sports now being clearly established in multiple US states it will enter the market in the United States this year.
As part of its entry, the group will establish an office in the US to fuel its expansion efforts in North America.
The news comes in a week when GAN, a gaming software company headed up by Dermot Smurfit Jr, extended its iGaming deal with Paddy Power Betfair in New Jersey.