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F1 owner Liberty Media buys MotoGP for £3.6bn

WorldSBK now also under Liberty’s portfolio. Ride to Survive, anyone?

Published: 03 Apr 2024

US media conglomerate Liberty Media Corporation - which owns F1, of course - has acquired MotoGP and WSBK rights holder Dorna Sports in a £3.6bn deal.

There’d been widespread speculation among the MotoGP paddock about an incoming deal for several weeks before it was officially announced on 1 April. And no, we’ve double-checked: this isn’t an April Fools’ joke. 

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With the deal made public, F1 owner Liberty Media will now own 86 per cent of Dorna and thus holds the controlling stake in motorcycle racing’s two biggest international products. The other 14 per cent remains with senior Dorna management. The Spanish company had owned MotoGP’s rights since 1992 and the famous 500 era. 

It’s not done and dusted quite yet, though: the deal’s expected to be officially completed by the end of the year. 

Liberty acquired Formula One in 2017 from CVC Capital partners and long-time owner, Bernie Ecclestone. Since then the sport has found a new audience internationally, particularly in the United States, which might explain the three American grands prix that exist on the calendar now. 

The Netflix documentary series Drive To Survive has also grown the sport’s reach. MotoGP tried something similar with MotoGP Unlimited a while back, but it was cancelled after one series.

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MotoGP fans already harbour other reservations about their sport falling victim to F1-esque evils: sky-high bike development costs, over-reliance on aero, and fewer overtakes. Hmm.

Despite that, there’s been plenty of scintillating on-track action in the 2024 season so far: 19-year-old rookie Pedro Acosta took precisely two rounds to score his first podium, Marc Marquez looks revitalised on the Ducati, and reigning double world champion Pecco Bagnaia crashed from the lead at Portimao.

It’s probably a bit too early to place bets on a deluge of US-based circuits being added to the MotoGP grid for 2025. Probably.

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