Formula One, the world's highest-profile auto racing competition, has agreed a strategic partnership with daily fantasy sports (DFS) provider PlayON.
PlayON becomes Formula One's official daily fantasy sports partner under the agreement, which also sees F1 acquire a stake in the DFS operator.
The company will offer contests where players select teams of five drivers and one constructor per race, with points awarded for finishing positions, positions gained and fastest laps. The games will be tailored to appeal to local audiences and will be complemented by live Grand Prix coverage in key markets through integration with the sport's new streaming service F1 TV.
"PlayON is pleased to be entering this partnership with Formula One - the global appeal of Formula One makes it an ideal strategic partner," PlayON founder and chief executive Killian Jones said. "A key aspect of the deal relates to the live Formula One 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," he explained. "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 One team in pursuit of this goal."
Formula One joins a roster of high-profile sports that have partnered with PlayON, including the Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Reflecting its commitment to fantasy sports, Formula One has become an equity shareholder in PlayON as part of the agreement. This is the first time the organisation has taken an equity stake in an external business, and will facilitate PlayON's entry to the US DFS market later this year.
"Formula One is continuously looking for ways to engage with new audiences, particularly in the digital space," Formula One director of digital and new business Frank Arthofer explained. "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," he said. "We feel PlayON's approach is the right one for long-term success in the industry."