Liberty Media saw a rise in Formula 1’s revenue from broadcast partners and sponsorship agreements through 2017, but the sport made a total loss of $37 million across the year.

Liberty completed its takeover of F1 back in January 2017, with Chase Carey taking over as the series’ CEO and chairman from long-standing ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone.

F1 has embarked on a number of new expansion plans, including the setup of a new office base in central London, undertaking a recruitment drive and creating a new broadcast service, F1 TV, which was announced earlier this week.

In its year-end financial results for 2017, Liberty reported a one percent fall in F1’s total revenue to $1.784 billion, resulting in a total operating loss of $37 million for the year.

However, Liberty noted in its report that it had enjoyed a year-on-year rise in both broadcast revenue and advertising/sponsorship revenue through 2017, the latter thanks to “higher fees and growth in certain contractual arrangements, plus revenue from new sponsors”.

Revenue from race promotion fell through 2017, with Liberty reporting the cause to have been a “one-time material step down in the promotion fee” for one grand prix - as agreed by F1’s previous management - as well as the calendar only standing at 20 races instead of 21 as in 2016.

The drop in revenue led to a fall in payout to the 10 F1 teams, which was cut by five percent to $919 million.

However, as revealed by Red Bull F1 chief Christian Horner at last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, this shortfall will be made up for by Liberty on an interest-free basis in order to “fund that bridge for those teams that wish to take it”.

The report also notes that Liberty “repaid $400 million of first lien term loan” and “reduced the margin on remaining balance from 3.00% to 2.50% in January 2018”, as well as an increase in F1’s 2017 season audience figures through TV and digital platforms.

“The 2017 season was successful in increasing viewers across TV and digital platforms,” Carey said.

“In 2018, we continue to focus on fan engagement through increasing carriage on linear and digital platforms, enhancing the race excitement, hosting more F1 Live events and collaborating with our partners.

“We look forward to the start of the season later this month in Melbourne.”


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