F1 revenues 'set to double'

Thu, 02 Jun 12:33:00 2011

Annual revenue from Formula One's commercial rights is set to double in the next five years to more than $3 billion (£1.83bn) thanks largely to race hosting fees, according to a report.

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The Formula Money report predicted annual revenues for the Formula One Group would rise at a rate of 12.7 percent to reach $3.253 billion by 2016 compared to an estimated $1.587 billion in 2010.

"Revenues are expected to hit $1,789m this year before passing the $2 billion mark for the first time in 2012," the report added.

The report, a statistical review of Formula One's finances, uses data from various sources in a sport where official figures are hard to obtain and sponsorship details are kept secret.

Formula One's commercial rights are owned by private equity firm CVC and managed by the sport's 80-year-old supremo and dealmaker Bernie Ecclestone.

This year's calendar was to have been a record 20 races, and could still be if the postponed Bahrain Grand Prix is reinstated.

However, the sport's future remains uncertain, with US media group News Corp and Italian financial holding Exor, which controls Ferrari through carmaker Fiat, teaming up to explore options on how to run the sport.

Ecclestone has said News Corp has a "close to zero" chance of buying the sport.

The confidential 'Concorde Agreement' between the teams, the governing FIA and commercial rights holder that sets out the commercial basis of the sport and division of revenues also expires at the end of next year.

"One of the key areas of expansion is expected to be race hosting fees, which brought in an estimated $568m in 2010," said the report, whose publishing partners CNC communications have worked with teams, sponsors and car manufacturers.

"Most race contracts include an annual escalator and upcoming races in new markets such as Russia and India are expected to pay above the average rate."

India is due to host a grand prix for the first time this year at a circuit near New Delhi, while Russia has a race scheduled for the Black Sea resort of Sochi in 2014, after the Winter Olympics.

Formula Money predicted the highest race hosting fee would rise to more than $100 million by the end of the decade.

It said the increased revenue would also be a boost for the teams, who receive half of the sport's underlying profits as prize money.

Prize money could also overtake sponsorship as the teams' biggest source of cash.

"Formula Money predicts that in 2016 the total prize fund will come to $1,575m, with the winner of the constructors' championship taking home a $222m reward," added the report.

"This amount is bigger than the entire annual budget of seven of the current 12 teams and compares to the $87m that Red Bull Racing received for winning the championship in 2010."

The report calculated that total team sponsorship and supplier deals fell to $802m in 2010 but had shown strong growth in 2011 and had already reached $887 million by the start of the season in March.

Reuters

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