NASCAR Will Allow Racing Teams To Have Sports Betting Sponsors

There may come a day when fans turn on an NFL, NBA or MLB game and see their favorite athletes wearing uniforms bearing patches or cross-chest logos featuring sports betting. For NASCAR, that day has arrived.

NASCAR announced on Monday it will allow racing teams to have gambling sponsors while also searching for a leaguewide data deal, according to Sports Business Journal. NASCAR formed an industry group last year to explore the sports betting space. The sanctioning body will release new regulations by the start of the 2019 season, allowing sports betting sponsorships on their cars at all tracks.

NASCAR is now talking with sports betting companies in search of one major sponsorship partner. A deal with Sportradar to monitor betting markets is already in place.

Coverage of sports betting sponsors is a bit tougher because this is the first deal of its kind in the United States. Fox Sports and NBC Sports – the two networks that broadcast NASCAR races – have agreed to cover those sponsorships like any other. However, sports betting sponsors will be restricted from added exposure like in-car cameras because of legal issues over advertising the gambling industry in states that don’t allow sports betting.

The No. 12 car from Team Penske, Ryan Blaney

Sports betting sponsors already popular in Europe

While this is a breakthrough deal in the new U.S. sports betting landscape, gambling-related sponsorships already exist outside the United States. It’s a well acceptated relationship among English Premier League (EPL) teams – England’s top-level soccer league.

In fact, entities from the industry make up close to 60 percent of the EPL’s overall sponsorship. In the EPL, nine of the 20 clubs wear shirts with gambling companies as the main sponsor. In the EFL Championship – England’s second-most popular soccer league – 17 of 24 clubs have gambling companies as their main sponsor.

For perspective and scale, the EPL is the most-watched sports league in the world, broadcasting to a TV audience of over 4 billion people. Besides England, Italy, France, Spain and Germany also allow their soccer clubs to use sports betting companies as sponsors.

Will other pro sports leagues be next?

So, what’s next for professional sports leagues in the United States? Well, don’t expect to see a sports betting sponsor on Tom Brady’s jersey any time soon. The NBA is the most likely to try it first, given the league has been at the forefront when it comes to embracing sports betting. The NBA was the first sports league with a sports betting partnership when it signed a deal with MGM.

The UFC already has partnerships with PokerStars and Parimatch to have their logos featured in the Octogan during fights. Parimatch is the official betting and wagering partner of the UFC across the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region, excluding the UK and Ireland. When fighters compete in those regions, Parimatch branding is featured on their UFC Fight Collection clothing.

We may still be years away from leagues like the NFL using sports betting branding, but NASCAR set the precedent with its new deal.

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