Joseph Solosky: The growing betting opportunity within NASCAR

“The big growth opportunity for sports betting at NASCAR is fan engagement,” according to Joseph Solosky, Managing Director at NASCAR.

DataArt welcomed Solosky to discuss how the automotive race series is leveraging sports betting products to drive elevated levels of engagement.

Discussing how NASCAR’s views and incorporates sports betting models, Solosky stated: “We see sports betting as a medium to further engage our already existing loyal strong fanbase at NASCAR who may never have bet on auto racing before. 

“To provide a compelling product, to increase their engagement and experience at a race by providing a fun legalized sports betting market, to enhance either their viewership or their attendance at a race. 

‘The bigger part of the pie’ for NASCAR, Soloksy explained, is the potential cross sell opportunity that betting presents to more traditional sports fans: “Having NASCAR as an attractive offering may get them to bet on the sport, which will then maybe get them to watch the sport, which will then get them to attend a sport and then become a fan.” 

“Those network effects kind of branch out and we see it in ticket sales, we see it in merchandise opportunities, in viewership across our broadcast partners soo it really is a spider web effect. The revenue opportunity is there but as we all know it’s a very small margin business.”

Currently NASCAR works with three authorised gaming operator partners: WynnBET, BetMGM and Penn National Gaming. Solosky divulged that NASCAR talks to many different operators who see NASCAR as an emerging sport in terms of sports betting. 

Having previously been employed by Sportradar, Solosky was well-versed in various continents, many of which embraced sports betting before the US. 

He said: “In my transition from NASCAR to Sportradar after spending two and a half years working with operators on the data side. I had a lot of great experience not only from my international time but my domestic time in terms of the contacts that I worked with on the operator side.

When discussing in-play betting, Solosky explained: “It’s a huge technological innovation essentially to offer these in-race markets. If you look at the official data feed that NASCAR provides for our timing and scoring, it’s not balls and strikes.

“If you watched the race this past weekend, for the Coca-Cola 600, you’re looking at a 100th or 1000th of a second that’s separating cars in a lap so having an official feed is vitally important to the sport and to resulting and settling bets. When it’s coming down to that thin of a margin, whether it’s coming down to lap results or just all race results, that official feed is vitally important to the marketplace.”

When asked what held the project back, he noted: “I think it was a multitude of factors. We’ve had our timing and scoring feed up for quite some time and it ran across our daily fantasy partners that used it but to a micro-level of that in-race betting, there was a lot of innovation that needed to be passed along from us and explanations from us in terms of the data feed to the supplier, and then supplier building those markets.

“And not just building markets for the sake of building markets but also building markets that actually were relevant to what a motorsport bettor or a NASCAR bettor would want to bet on so there’s a lot of research that goes into that as well.”

You can watch the full interview here.