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F1 Owner Liberty Media Takes Over MotoGP for $4.5 Billion

F1 Owner Liberty Media Takes Over MotoGP for $4.5 Billion photo
F1 Owner Liberty Media Takes Over MotoGP for $4.5 Billion photo

It's a big day in the business of motorsports, as confirmation has emerged that Liberty Media has purchased the commercial rights to MotoGP for a reported 4.2 billion euro—or approximately $4.5 billion. The purchase is for an 86% share of the company, with Dorna, MotoGP's parent company, retaining the rest.

MotoGP is the premier, global motorcycle racing series—quite literally the Formula 1 of motorcycles. This means that Liberty Media now commands the pinnacles of two- and four-wheeled competition. It's not clear yet what plans Liberty Media has for MotoGP's future, but it will certainly represent a major shift in how the series operates and sells itself to the world.

Dorna Sports, a Spanish organization headed by Spanish businessman and former race director and engineer Carmelo Ezpeleta, has owned MotoGP since 1992. It's kept a mostly Spanish staff since, with some Italians also in the top ranks. The organization is seen with a certain level of national pride, as it's successfully taken motorcycle racing to the global stage during its ownership. And not to mention that most of the top motorcycle racers are also from Spain. It will be interesting to see how this tight-knit culture and European mentality may clash with Liberty Media's management style.

CEO of Dorna Sports Carmelo Ezpeleta and F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali on the grid before the start of the MotoGP Grand Prix of Qatar. <em>Getty Images</em>
CEO of Dorna Sports Carmelo Ezpeleta and F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali on the grid before the start of the MotoGP Grand Prix of Qatar. Getty Images