Liberty Media acquire MotoGP

Liberty Media Corporation has announced an agreement to acquire MotoGP™. MotoGP has grown to comprise more than 20 Grands Prix across five continents, with the television broadcast reaching hundreds of millions around the world.

This new agreement will see Dorna Sports S.L., the exclusive commercial and television rights holder of MotoGP™, remain an independently run company attributed to Liberty Media’s Formula One Group tracking stock. Carmelo Ezpeleta, who has been CEO since 1994, will remain in his position and continue to run the business with his management team. The business will remain based in Madrid.

Dorna also holds exclusive rights to other motorcycle racing series, including MotoGP™ feeder series Moto2™ and Moto3™, the FIM Enel MotoE™ World Championship, the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship and the new FIM Women’s Circuit Racing World Championship.

Liberty Media will acquire approximately 86% of Dorna, with Dorna management retaining approximately 14% of their equity in the business. The transaction reflects an enterprise value for Dorna/MotoGP™ of €4.2 billion and an equity value of €3.5 billion, with MotoGP’s™ existing debt balance expected to remain in place after close.

“We are thrilled to expand our portfolio of leading live sports and entertainment assets with the acquisition of MotoGP,” said Greg Maffei, Liberty Media President and CEO. “MotoGP is a global league with a loyal, enthusiastic fan base, captivating racing and a highly cash flow generative financial profile. Carmelo and his management team have built a great sporting spectacle that we can expand to a wider global audience. The business has significant upside, and we intend to grow the sport for MotoGP fans, teams, commercial partners and our shareholders.”

“This is the perfect next step in the evolution of MotoGP, and we are excited for what this milestone brings to Dorna, the MotoGP paddock and racing fans,” said Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna. “We are proud of the global sport we’ve grown, and this transaction is a testament to the value of the sport today and its growth potential. Liberty Media has an incredible track record in developing sports assets and we could not wish for a better partner to expand MotoGP’s fanbase around the world.

”The acquisition is expected to be completed by year-end 2024 and is subject to the receipt of clearances and approvals by competition and foreign investment law authorities in various jurisdictions.

About Liberty Media Corporation
Liberty Media Corporation operates and owns interests in a broad range of media, communications and entertainment businesses. Those businesses are attributed to three tracking stock groups: the Liberty SiriusXM Group, the Formula One Group and the Liberty Live Group. The businesses and assets attributed to the Liberty SiriusXM Group (NASDAQ: LSXMA, LSXMB, LSXMK) include Liberty Media’s interest in SiriusXM. The businesses and assets attributed to the Formula One Group (NASDAQ: FWONA, FWONK) include Liberty Media’s subsidiaries Formula 1 and Quint, and other minority investments. The businesses and assets attributed to the Liberty Live Group (NASDAQ: LLYVA, LLYVK) include Liberty Media’s interest in Live Nation and other minority investments.

About Dorna Sports, S.L. & MotoGP™
Dorna Sports became the sole commercial and television rights holder of the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship in 1991. Based in Madrid, with premises in Barcelona and a subsidiary in Rome, Dorna is a leader in sports management, marketing and media, and has seen continued growth over the years, expanding from solely MotoGP™ to include other leading motorcycle racing championships across the globe. Dorna holds exclusive rights to MotoGP feeder series Moto2™ and Moto3™, MotoE™, the Superbike World Championship and the FIM Women’s Circuit Racing World Championship.

MotoGP™ is the pinnacle of motorcycle racing, with 22 of the fastest riders competing on purpose-built prototype motorcycles on some of the world’s greatest racetracks. MotoGP features top speeds above 360 kilometers per hour (223 miles per hour) and lean angles of over 60 degrees. Since 1949, the sport has grown to comprise more than 20 Grands Prix across five continents, with the television broadcast reaching hundreds of millions around the world.

Ultimately Dorna have been doing a nice job as of late but America is a market that MotoGP would like to break and despite the criticism, F1 has three races in the US now and a much larger footprint.

MotoGP did their own Drive to Survive series on Amazon to lesser impact but to be fair, DTS was a case of right time, right place, right pandemic. What may be more important is to exploit the elements of MotoGP that the American market might resonate with.

Specifically, as new fans become less enchanted with F1’s domination-style competition (Mercedes winning 8 years, Red Bull winning last three years), MotoGP is a different kettle of fish. While MotoGP may not be a “on any given Sunday” type of series, it’s much closer to that than F1 is these days.

Like the acquisition of F1, there will be detractors of this new American-owned version of MotoGP but give it time and perhaps the sport will enjoy more promotion and more American market penetration. As Ezpeleta said, Liberty certainly does know how to create sport assets. Let’s see if they can do the same for MotoGP.

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Worthless Opinion

I don’t feel great about this