In cooperation with the media giant IMG Arena and the game developer Leap Gaming, the North American stock car racing series Nascar is planning to launch a virtual competition. One of the profiteers is the American casino operator Penn National Gaming, which signed a deal with the racing series last February. What can be expected from the new product?
Bet ready for virtual sports
A few days ago, the world-famous racing series Nascar returned from the corona lockdown with a race on the legendary Darlington Raceway. A new virtual sports racing game is now in the starting blocks , which is being created together with IMG and Leap Gaming. Under the title “eNascar”, races on well-known slopes are to be realistically reproduced, including Daytona International Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway and Watkins Glen International.
According to Scott Warfield, managing director of gaming at Nascar, the betting industry is now also ready to participate in the booming virtual sports business . It was therefore agreed to make live streams of the virtual races available to international bookmakers. Because of its reach, the media giant IMG Arena is the ideal partner for this. Warfield explained:
“IMG Arena is the leading partner for global sports and entertainment media. We look forward to working together to provide a global audience with the opportunity to engage in our sport virtually and in real time. The international sports betting landscape is mature and lively. This enables us to offer compelling products that further improve our international presence. ”
eNascar was also added to the sports betting range by the New Hampshire Lottery last month . This was intended to close the gap caused by the postponement of the Nascar season due to the corona virus. However, Nascar started its virtual sports program in 2018 . In cooperation with Coca-Cola, an iRacing series was established in which 40 leading Sim racers compete against each other in 20 races.
Partnership with Penn in February
Penn National Gaming (PNG) is likely to be one of the main beneficiaries of the new game . In February, the US casino giant already signed a multi-year contract to become an authorized gaming partner of the Stock Racing Series . For PNG, the deal marks the first ever partnership with a professional sports league.
At the heart of the agreement is a free mobile game called “Nascar Finish Line”, which gives players the chance to win a jackpot of $ 50,000 in every race . The app challenges the player to predict the race winner and the highest placed drivers in six different groups of six drivers each.
Focus on the US sports betting market
Conversely, PNG will play an active role in marketing Nascar. Campaigns are planned on their own casino properties and within the new PNG sports betting app. In addition, Nascar and PNG have agreed to extend their long-term title sponsorship for the “Hollywood Casino 400” on Kansas Speedway until 2026. Jennifer Weissman, Marketing Director at PNG said:
“We are very excited about this long-term, strategic partnership with Nascar. This gives us the opportunity to offer Nascar fans several new outlets, including online, with a new free mobile game, with our betting app and in our casinos. ”
Nascar Vice President Craig Neeb also spoke and welcomed the partnership. With PNG the general engagement of the fans could be increased and at the same time a “perfect gaming experience” guaranteed. They also benefit from the legal sports betting market in the USA. To this end, the racing series entered into an integrity agreement with Genius Sports last year .
Virtual sports against the crisis?
The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has brought the global sports sector to a standstill, which meant the end of sports betting. Worldwide, sales in the actually booming sector plummeted by around 90 percent . However, the industry recently reacted to the total failure and, among other things, became increasingly involved in virtual sports. For example, an expansion of GIG was observed in mid-April .
EveryMatrix is one of the world’s largest providers of virtual sports products. The provider has recently expanded its range to better support the battered bookmakers . A virtual gap could be “filled a gap that has arisen”, according to the provider. Therefore, one wants to introduce more and more virtual sports. According to CEO Ebbe Groes, the move will be “essential” in the coming years.
According to a study by the market research company Persistent Marktet Research, the world of online gaming is increasingly moving towards virtuality. More and more online gaming sites are therefore expanding into the virtual realm . The sales figures have been rising steadily for years. The industry’s total sales in 2016 were approximately $ 6.1 billion. By the end of 2020, sales could more than triple.