Liberty “not planning to change” MotoGP under new ownership

On Monday morning, American media giant Liberty announced it had acquired 86% ownership in MotoGP in a deal worth €4.2 billion.

The deal – set to be completed by the end of 2024 – will see Liberty hold ownership of motorsports’ two biggest championships in Formula 1 and MotoGP, though the latter will continue to be independently run by Dorna.

Since buying F1 in 2016, Liberty has been able to bring the series to a much broader audience and boost its profits, with much of that down to its expansion in America.

The news of Liberty’s takeover of MotoGP has led to fears among fans that the series could undergo detrimental changes under the new ownership.

But during an investors call on Monday 1 April, Liberty Media’s president and CEO Greg Maffei said the company has no plans to fundamentally change MotoGP.

“On monetisation versus growing the support, I think that’s kind of a false dichotomy in some respects; I think they go hand in hand,” Maffei said when asked about Liberty’s plans to grow MotoGP against its own needs to make money.

“What we really saw in F1 was, as we grew the fanbase your monetisation became easier because your partners – whether they be broadcast partners, promoter partners or sponsor partners, and whether they’re looking at branding or activation, and more and more at activation – it’s all part and parcel.

Greg Maffei, CEO, Liberty Media Corporation

Greg Maffei, CEO, Liberty Media Corporation

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

“As that excitement grows, as that demand grows, as that audience grows, everything kind of flows together and there’s a sort of positive flywheel.

“And that’s what we felt in Formula 1, those all came together. And I like to believe that’s the potential here.

“This is an unbelievable product, we are not planning to change this sport.

“This is a great sport with a great fanbase that has unbelievable competition and unbelievable excitement.

“Our goal is to open that up to a broader audience and open it up to a broader set of commercial partners of all flavours. And I think those go hand in hand.”

During the call, both representatives from Liberty and Dorna’s sporting director Carlos Ezpeleta repeatedly stressed that MotoGP cannot be staged on street circuits.

This is in response to fan comments on social media that MotoGP could follow a route F1 has taken in recent years as its calendar has expanded to feature more street courses.

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