Formula 1 has acquired a stake in an external company for the first time by partnering with international sports entertainment company PlayON to launch an official daily fantasy game.
PlayON will enter the U.S. market this year following the F1 partnership, which sees it operate the new official daily fantasy Formula 1 game as well as the traditional offering. With F1 becoming an equity shareholder in PlayON at a company valuation of £30m ($42m), the new partnership will also see live races integrated onto the PlayON platform in key markets through the sport’s new OTT service F1 TV.
Frank Arthofer, director of digital and new business at Formula 1, says the new partnership will have a long-term ability to appeal to younger fans.
“Formula 1 is continuously looking for ways to engage with new audiences, particularly in the digital space,” Arthofer said. “Fantasy Sports is an exciting industry and offers us the opportunity to engage with a young and vibrant fan base.
“We believe in PlayON, its product, leadership, and its strict approach to regulation, only operating real-money games in territories that have a clearly established regulatory framework in place: this enables F1 to enter the daily fantasy market without concern over legality. We feel PlayON’s approach is the right one for long-term success in the industry.”
Killian Jones, founder and CEO at PlayON, adds that the ability to show live races was a key aspect of the partnership and will strengthen the company as it looks to expand in the U.S.
“PlayON is pleased to be entering this partnership with Formula 1 – the global appeal of Formula 1 makes it an ideal strategic partner,” Jones said. “A key aspect of the deal relates to the live Formula 1 races being present on the PlayON platform. The combination of live sport and PlayON’s daily fantasy games will provide a fully immersive entertainment experience to our customers around the world.
“PlayON’s goal is to deliver the ultimate digital sports entertainment experience to sports fans and we look forward to working closely with the Formula 1 team in pursuit of this goal.
“In light of the regulatory environment around daily fantasy sports now being clearly established in multiple U.S. states, PlayON today announces it will enter the U.S. market in 2018 and will establish a U.S. office to fuel our expansion efforts in North America.”