Betting Business interactive conducted an interview with Coral’s head of public relations, Simon Clare, on why Formula One betting has never really taken off and why there is almost nothing anyone can really do about it.
Betting Business: Why do you think Formula One betting isn’t as popular as other forms of race betting such as horse racing and other forms of sports betting?
Simon Clare: Formula One lacks the vital ingredients to be a mass market betting product as the races go on too long, with very little that can be bet-in-play, and the results are almost always predictable. It is a hugely popular sport in terms of TV audience but very niche as a betting product.
BB: A number of critics argue that Formula One is too predictable for betting on the sport to really take off, how would you respond to these comments considering betting on football can also be seen as somewhat predictable?
SC: Football is the most popular sport in the world, there are thousands of matches a week to bet on across the globe, and they are perfect for Bet-In-Play with over 100 in-play markets offered by bookies on every game. And in terms of football being predictable I give you two words, Leicester City.
BB: Greg Maffei, chief executive officer at Liberty Media, the new owners of Formula One, stated that he wants Formula One to become the new football in terms of betting, do you think this is possible and if not, what obstacles must betting on Formula One overcome before it is?
SC: It is not possible. Formula One has an awful lot going for it in terms of global reach and glamour, and it generates huge revenues, but it is punters that decide what sports are good for betting not the sports themselves. Formula One races would need to be shorter and far more competitive to generate increased turnover but even then it will never rival football, racing or tennis.
BB: Do you feel that the majority of people who bet on Formula One are fans of the sport or primarily gamblers?
SC: Many are fans, some just enjoy betting on a variety of sports of which F1 is one. Relatively few people betting on F1 would be ordinary recreational punters.
BB: Would you say you struggle to incentivise customers to bet on Formula One?
SC: We can and have tried to attract people to bet on F1, indeed Coral many years ago sponsored the Arrows team in 2000 with its online brand Eurobet, with that goal in mind. Needless to say it didn’t work and F1 is not a sport that is worth focusing marketing efforts on when football, racing and tennis are so much more rewarding in this regard.
Simon Clare was promoted to head of PR at Coral in 2000 after a successful term as their racecourse PR manager and prosperous spells in their press office.