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F1’s Owner Just Struck a $4.5 Billion Deal to Take Over MotoGP

Liberty Media thinks it can do for motorcycle racing what it’s done for Formula 1.

F1’s owner announced Monday that it was taking over MotoGP, the world’s premier two-wheel racing competition. The move is a result of the company striking a multi-billion deal to buy the championship’s exclusive rights holder, Dorna Sports.

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The deal is valued at €4.2 billion (roughly $4.5 billion) and current MotoGP management will retain a 14 equity, according to Liberty Media. The deal is still subject to regulatory approval, but the company expects it to be complete by the end of 2024. Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta will continue to run the business from its headquarters in Madrid.

As a result of the deal, Liberty Media now has control of two of the world’s biggest racing brands. This could lead to scrutiny from anti-trust regulators, according to Bloomberg. CVC Capital Partners was forced to sell MotoGP to gain approval for its acquisition of F1. Liberty Media bought the open-wheel racing championship from CVC for $8 billion in 2016.

The company has grown F1’s popularity in the years since the purchase by focusing on previously neglected markets—like the U.S., which now hosts races in Austin, Las Vegas and Miami—and making it easier to watch races via digital streaming. Interest raised by the Liberty Media-produced Netflix series Formula 1: Drive to Survive certainly hasn’t hurt either.

“Carmelo and his management team have built a great sporting spectacle that we can expand to a wider global audience,” Liberty Media’s president and CEO Greg Maffei said in a statement. “The business has significant upside, and we intend to grow the sport for MotoGP fans, teams, commercial partners and our shareholders.”

It remains to be seen if Liberty Media can work its magic on MotoGP, but hopefully they will at least make it easier to watch races. You previously had to pay for a subscription to watch races, but the championship recently announced that it was partnering with TNT Sports to air this season’s 21 events in the U.S. This season’s races—including its headline event, the TT Assen—will be available to view on TruTV and Max’s B/R Sports add-on.

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