Liberty Media CEO addresses sale rumours amid Elon Musk’s interest in buying F1

Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are reportedly interested in purchasing in Formula 1's commercial rights.

Liberty Media president and CEO Greg Maffei has silenced any rumours that the company is looking to sell the commercial rights to Formula 1, with the president assuring that they remain “enthused” about the sport’s future.

Over recent months there have been reports of Liberty Media wanting to sell the sport, with an offer of $20 billion having reportedly come from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

Whilst the rumoured offer was rejected, it was speculated at the recent Miami Grand Prix that two tech billionaires were very interested in investing in F1.

It was reported by Fox Sports that Tesla founder Elon Musk and former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos were interested in investing in the sport’s commercial rights, suggesting that their trip to the Miami GP was for work rather than pleasure.

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Despite it all, though, Liberty Media aren’t set to go anywhere, with Maffei having shared that departing the sport isn’t on the commercial rights owner’s “cards”.

“Anyone says that our friends the Saudis are going to buy it next week or something like that, if anybody knows us, they should know that’s just not in our cards,” Maffei told the Moffett Nathanson Media and Communications Summit.

With the sport continuing to boom in places, Liberty Media see further ways of F1 making even more income, with tickets this season “selling out everywhere”.

“We are very enthused about where Formula 1 is now but [also] where it’s going as well. You look at the big revenue streams there, all have good direction. In broadcasting we have increased fans and we have increased distributors who want to push the product, including new digital distributors and the like. We have promoters who are our partners.

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“The gate was probably [25%] up in Miami. That’s not unique. They’re selling out everywhere, particularly the high-end experiences, the Paddock Clubs, all at better prices,” added Maffei.

“So we are able to get upticks in what we get paid. We have been able to add a few races and there’s maybe a little more room left there. And then sponsorship has grown dramatically. We’ve opened up the number of global sponsors. I think we’ve gone from five to 12 of our biggest sponsor types.

“We are continuing to see traction there and I think we’re well set up. We have a new opportunity with what we’re doing in Las Vegas where we will be the promoter and we have a opportunity to learn about something and hopefully set the bar.”