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F1’s new owners eye growth via gambling

Tue, Sep 27, 9:12am by Staff Writer

The new owners of Formula 1 see growth in gambling on the sport as a key pillar to increasing revenues from the world’s biggest motorsport brand.

Liberty Media purchased 35 per cent of Formula 1 shares from CVC Capital earlier this month, in a deal worth $4.4 billion which secured all the executive power in the sport.

The massive deal looks set to change the face of the sport, with US-based Liberty set to bring its expertise in the media and digital market to drive significant growth in revenues.

Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei said that while race sanction fees, broadcast rights and sponsorship were all part of the future growth plans, the growth in digital and gambling was most promising,

“Less than 1 percent of the revenues are from digital, they really have no organised digital effort. I think there are lot of things that can be done around gaming, VR [Virtual Reality] and AR [Augmented Reality],” Maffei said.

“There’s an enormous amount of video feed and data that we have about the races that we are already capturing that we are not in any way processing incrementally for the dedicated fan, or opportunities around things like gambling.”

“Outside the United States there is a huge gambling opportunity in the sport, none of which we capitalise on.”

“I think there are a bunch of ways in which digital can play through this, from a service to augmenting other things to providing data that are interesting that we are not capitalising on, that I think will be a part of the future growth.”

“Part of that is much more direct to consumer, D2C kind of experiences. How that augments, and how we work that in with traditional broadcasters, needs to be worked through. But I think that there’s a lot of material to work with there.”

Formula 1 has been criticised as being too traditional in its approach to media and fan experiences. Liberty will bring a much more cavalier approach to running the sport than the previous owners.

Included in the plans are a possible expansion of the current 21-race season.

“We’re sitting on 21 venues, I think there’s an opportunity to potentially grow that over time, particularly while we’ve maximised some of those venue opportunities with relatively high venue fees, I think there’s an opportunity to grow in the number of venues and venues that are potentially more attractive to longer term broadcast revenues and sponsorship revenues,” he said.

“The obvious optionality case is to some degree Asia in the short term, potentially Latin America, and longer term North America, and particularly the US, where we really are well under-viewed, under-monetised, under-everything.”

“I don’t think that gets solved in a week, but I think that’s an interesting long-term opportunity.”

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