Liberty to buy MotoGP

Liberty Media’s success with Formula 1 may see them scooping up the top motorcycle racing series, Moto GP, in a few days according to Financial Times.

It seems that Liberty is pleased with their F1 adventure as owner of the world’s most advance racing series on four wheels so an obvious leap might be, why not own the most advanced two-wheel racing series too?

The price tag is suggested at €4 billion and it could happen ahead of the Austin GP in April.

An interesting point is the European Commission’s view of this deal. There was a time when CVC Capital Partners owned both F1 and MotorGP but was forced to divest one in 2006 due to European antitrust authorities. Hence they sold MotorGP.

On one hand I believe the EU will certainly have a look at the possible acquisition but in the last few years, I get the impression Liberty Media can do things others weren’t allowed. I say that, not in a negative way as such, because the FIA have always had the lock on F1’s path and trajectory yet they have become very neutralized under Liberty’s ownership of F1.

When the regulations were being re-written for 2014, that would normally have been done by the FIA, not Ross Brawn acting as the sporting director for F1. I think much of the friction we see now with the FIA is due to F1 or Formula One Management (FOM) flexing their roles.

I may be wrong but my hunch is that Liberty isn’t excited about an independent organization such as the FIA determining the future path of their sport and I wonder if similar issues might arise in this MotoGP case.

On the positive side, there could be a much closer tie between the two series with better promotion and marketing efforts as well as a more symbiotic race calendar on shared tracks. Sure, not all F1 races race at tracks that a re good for MotoGP but there are a few that do and it would be a great bookend weekend for sure. Might be interesting.

Then again, I think just acquiring MotoGP and ramping up its brand and appeal would be a good thing for the series.

The other side of the coin is there are several folks online who aren’t happy with the American company buying yet another premier European series so there’s that too.

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