Barstool Sportsbook at Phoenix Raceway is a Nonstarter, Says NASCAR
Barstool Sports owner Penn Entertainment is probably not building a sportsbook at Phoenix Raceway in Arizona, an official from NASCAR told media this week
Phoenix Raceway and Barstool partnered in July 2021. The partnership included exclusive odds and bet lines on NASCAR races through Bartsool’s app, and cross-party advertising at the track and online.
However, it now looks like a theorized physical sportsbook will not materialize.
NASCAR Managing Director of Sports Betting Joe Solosky told Gaming Today that the economics of the raceway did not fit the criteria for a viable sportsbook.
“Right now, it just doesn’t make sense to build out that retail book at the racetrack,” said Solosky.
At the time of their partnership, it looked likely Barstool would open a retail sportsbook at the Raceway.
However, two years later, it seems the collaboration won’t be happening after all.
“In our selecting a partner for Arizona, we did want to have that option [a retail sportsbook] available if it made sense for us and for them,” said Solosky.
“However, we just haven’t advanced on those conversations in probably the last year or so.”
The Phoenix Raceway site only hosts two major race weekends a year. The NASCAR Championship is a big draw, which brings in 40,000 to 60,000 fans over the weekend.
However, its contract to host the Championship race itself is due to expire next year, and it’s uncertain whether it will be renewed.
The Raceway does host Craftsman Truck NASCAR and Xfinity Series racing throughout the year. But none of those events are anywhere near as popular as the championship racing.
Compare those two major league events annually to the 81 guaranteed regular season games at the NBA Phoenix Suns’ Footprint Center, for example, and you can see why a retail venue might not make sense at the Raceway.
Then there’s also the venue’s location. The Raceway is on the edge of the Phoenix city limits, and doesn’t have much foot traffic on non-event days. It also hosts concerts and other events, but that’s not the prime market for a sportsbook.
NASCAR fans can already use the Barstool Sports betting app to legally bet from their mobiles during the races. Mobile sports betting also drastically outperforms retail sportsbooks in Arizona when it comes to revenues, in the same way as it is in every other state that has both options available.
Plenty of sporting venues in Arizona also have physical sportsbooks already, so Barstool would be joining a crowded field if it did open another.
FanDuel has a retail sports betting venue at the Footprint Center, home of the Phoenix Suns. The Arizona Diamondbacks of MLB have a Caesars sportsbook opposite their Chase Field Stadium, and BetMGM has a venue on the grounds of State Farm stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals of the NFL.
DraftKings is also partnered with the PGA Tour to open a planned retail sportsbook focused on golf bets at the TPC Scottsdale golf course.
Out of the major US sports betting operators by market share, that leaves only Barstool and maybe Fanatics, depending on how you look, as absent from Arizona’s retail market.
However, its partner venue clearly wasn’t attractive enough to take the risk.
“As a partner, we’re not going to rush someone into building something that would not make economic sense and hurt the partnership,” said Solosky.