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Explained: How Liberty Media’s Phenomenal Takeover Opened the Gateway to Profits & Fans in F1

Published 05/10/2022, 10:46 AM EDT

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F1 is one of the fastest-growing motorsports, but the speed of growth has been phenomenal since the new American owners stepped in. In 2016, Liberty Media purchased F1 from Bernie Ecclestone for $4.4 billion. It was the biggest talk in the F1 world that year, besides Nico Rosberg being the world champion.

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Since then, the new owners have invested a lot into the sport and made many changes to help grow the sport. Let’s look into the changes that Liberty Media introduced to help grow F1 and whether those changes were helpful.

Attracting the young audience


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Under Ecclestone’s managerial period, F1 was one of the global motorsports. But over time, the viewership audience started to drop. One of the prime reasons for the drop in viewership was ignoring the young audience.

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When most of the world targeted the younger audience, the F1 supremo Ecclestone believed investing in a young audience was a waste. Instead, he wanted to focus on older people. According to him, the kids won’t be able to spend money on any of the items they advertise.


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Further, Bernie never focused on social media. He once agreed to be old-fashion for being on social media. But the new owners knew what to do. So, the first step they took was the relax the digital rules, allowing F1 teams to use official race footage.

Now, F1 has a massive fanbase on social media. Undoubtedly, the implementation of social media helped attract a young audience who spent most of their time on the internet.

The Americanization of F1

In recent times, F1 showed colossal interest and even got three races. F1 hosted the first Miami GP in 2022, and the Vegas GP would join the calendar in 2023. However, the Americanization of the sport has been protested by many; however, it is one of the biggest trump cards that Liberty Media used to increase the sport’s viewership. Cause F1 always had enormous global attention compared to the NFL. But NFL’s revenue collection was still more than F1.

So, getting more of America into the sport has already proved fruitful. The inaugural Miami GP was a massive hit. Further, the first race in the Magic City was no less than a huge carnival. Also, it was a win-win for both Miami authorities and F1, and both profited from the race. There are already speculations that the Vegas GP would be grander than Miami.

Getting Netflix into the game

Another great move by F1 that helped not only to grow F1 globally but also get America more into the sport. The new owners tied up with Netflix to create docuseries about the sport that retells the entirety of the past season.

However, many experts, fans, and even F1 teams thought this idea of the docuseries would be a colossal failure. But it turned into a massive hit. Netflix released the first season of Drive to Survive back in 2019. Soon after the release, it became an enormous hit worldwide and sowed the seeds of fandom in America.

Drive to Survive now has over four seasons, and it seems there will be more. It has helped a lot to grow the audience. Reports suggest after the series, F1 has over 1 million viewers. Although the series also received some critics for showing built-up tension between teams and drivers. But still, it is undeniable that F1 saw a considerable boost in the fandom ever since DTS came.

Introducing new F1 rules

The most important fact that helps the sport’s growth is keeping it exciting and alive. During Ecclestone’s monarchy, he tried different ideas to keep the sport alive, like having medals instead of points or shortcuts in the circuit. But his unique ideas didn’t help much.

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Then Liberty Media, instead of making the sports fancier with unique concepts, planned to make the sport more competitive. So, they introduced new rules and regulations like changing the car designs or even freezing the power unit development for more competition.

Aside from the new design, the most talked-about rule was implementing a budget cap. Previously, every team was allowed to spend fortunes on developing their cars. However, introducing a budget cap removes that advantage, and now every team has a limited budget each season which they have to spend wisely on development and repairs. Undoubtedly, the budget cap helped the most to even out the competition.

Showing more data and stats to fans

The AWS branding can be seen throughout a race nowadays. It’s because Amazon Web Services(AWS) is the official cloud and machine learning provider for F1. It was a deal signed back in 2018 between F1 and Amazon.


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The AWS has access to the vast data and statics of historic races. Further, the information they gather during the race also plays a massive role in making the sport interesting for the viewers. Using machine learning, F1 also shows the Overtake possibility or the Pit-stop advantage a car can have.

These new data shown during the race have been a massive hit as it allows fans to know more about the sport. But like everything, it also received some backslashes from some fans who claim it affects the fun of watching a duel between drivers.


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Undoubtedly, the changes introduced by Liberty Media seem questionable sometimes. But they have actually helped drastically grow F1 compared to the past owners of the sport.

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Written by:

Ripan Majumdar


One take at a time

Ripan Majumdar is an F1 writer at Essentially Sports. He is currently pursuing his Bachelor's in Science from West Bengal State University, Kolkata. Ripan is a massive Red Bull Racing and Sergio Perez fan, and has been following the sport for over the past few years.
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