Formula 1 acquires stake in Irish fantasy sports platform PlayON

19 Apr 2018

Image: NCS Production/Shutterstock

Formula 1 investment gives Dublin-based PlayON plenty of room to vroom in a growing market.

Motor sports giant Formula 1 has acquired a stake in Irish fantasy sports player PlayON for an undisclosed sum.

The investment will value the company, which is based at the Digital Hub’s Digital Exchange, at £30m.

‘We feel PlayON’s approach is the right one for long-term success in the industry’

This is the first time that Formula 1 – the racing giant that began in 1950 – has taken an equity stake in an external company.

It is understood that the investment will enable PlayON to expand in Ireland and the US, including 10 new people in Dublin in the next 12 months.

Revving up the fantasy sports business

Formula 1 acquires stake in Irish fantasy sports platform PlayON

Image: PlayON

PlayON is an international sports entertainment company with registered customers in more than 100 countries.

The company is laser-focused on opportunities in the daily fantasy sports market, a new emerging space in the fantasy entertainment market. It is currently licensed in the UK, Ireland and Australia.

PlayON offers daily fantasy games across football, basketball, golf, cricket, tennis, NFL, AFL, rugby union, rugby league and motor racing. It is the official daily fantasy partner of Formula 1 and the NBA.

“A key aspect of the deal relates to the live Formula 1 races being present on the PlayON platform,” explained the founder and CEO of PlayON, Killian Jones.

“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 US states, PlayON today announces it will enter the US market in 2018 and will establish a US office to fuel our expansion efforts in North America.”

Formula 1, a subsidiary of the Liberty Media Corporation, is the world’s most prestigious motor racing competition. The 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship will run from March to November, spanning 21 races in 21 countries across four continents.

So, why fantasy sports?

“Formula 1 is continuously looking for ways to engage with new audiences, particularly in the digital space,” explained Frank Arthofer, director of digital and new business at Formula 1.

“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.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years