Liberty Media’s stated intentions to take over the commercial rights to Formula One were all well and fine, but they didn’t amount to much until two important bodies gave their stamps of approval. And now both have.
In a special meeting convened in Geneva on Wednesday, the World Motor Sport Council of the FIA by unanimous vote approved the sale of Delta Topco – the Formula One Group’s holding company and holder of its commercial rights – to Liberty Media Corporation.
This after Liberty’s shareholders voted on Tuesday to approve the deal as well, thus paving the way for CVC Capital Partners to divest itself from the sport for the first time since it acquired majority interest over a decade ago.
With the approval from both parties now in place, Liberty Media stated that it expects to finalize the acquisition by the end of this month. And with it, F1 looks poised to embark on a new era – not necessarily in terms of on-track competition, but certainly in the audience the sport will reach after years of Bernie Ecclestone’s often regressive and protectionist media policies.
Based near Denver, Colorado, Liberty has a great deal of experience and expertise in broadcasting – and in sports broadcasting especially. In addition to its controlling interest in Sirius XM Radio and QVC, Liberty owns the Atlanta Braves baseball team, MacNeil/Lehrer Productions (which produces PBS NewsHour), and previously controlled DirecTV Sports Networks, CTV Sportsnet, and the Discovery Channel.
Liberty’s acquisition also bodes well for the resurgence of F1 in America, potentially leading to additional races in the United States in locations like New York and Las Vegas.