Formula 1 owner Liberty Media tops Forbes sporting rich list

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Liberty Media has clinched the coveted top spot in the annual Forbes Top 25 list once again.

The prestigious roster is a who’s who of the sports world, primarily featuring titans who hold sway over multiple major US sports franchises, including brands who own some of Europe’s elite football clubs.

Despite a strategic manoeuvre last July that saw Liberty spin off its baseball venture, the Atlanta Braves, the company’s sports property portfolio experienced a dip in value.

The move, which shaved off a whopping 12 per cent from its sports asset valuation, still didn’t harm Liberty’s place atop the list, firmly holding onto its throne with an impressive $18.22 billion empire.

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Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, owner of top-tier teams including the Los Angeles Rams, Denver Nuggets, and Arsenal FC, snagged second place after its value surged by 22 per cent to reach a formidable $15.59 billion.

Fenway Sports Group, which owns the Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Liverpool FC, came in third after seeing a 25 per cent surge to $12.95 billion.

Fenway Sports also recently flirted with Formula 1 glory by becoming minor shareholders in Arctos Partners, a sports investment firm that recently acquired a stake in the Aston Martin F1 team.

Further down the list sits Stephen Ross, the real estate mogul who owns the Miami Dolphins and masterminds the Miami GP, which held at his Hard Rock stadium in Florida.

Ross single-handedly snagged the 16th spot with a sports asset valuation of $6.91 billion.

And as Formula 1 grows in the wake of its massive Netflix popularity, so does its list of potential big-name sponsors.

Late last year, billionaires Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos were spotted at the Miami F1 Grand Prix, fuelling speculation the pair are considering investing in the glamour sport.

Musk spent time chatting to Red Bull Racing chief Christian Horner before disappearing into the plush VIP suites at Hard Rock Stadium, The Sun reports.

Amazon boss Bezos was all smiles as he strolled around the paddock in South Florida and spoke with McLaren engineers in a rare appearance for him, and Musk, at the Formula One.

While F1 insiders have claimed that a move to buy out Liberty Media is unlikely, there is a strong possibility both are keen to become involved in what is a boom time for the sport.

Bezos and Musk could afford to eclipse the $6.49 billion Liberty paid for the ownership of F1 – current estimates suggest it’s worth at least double that now.

The current deal expires in 2025 and insiders claim there is a push to get everyone in F1 – teams and the governing body – all under the same umbrella which may indicate Liberty are willing to sell if the price is right.

A mega-money $29.5 billion bid from Saudi Arabia was reported – and subsequently denied – at the start of 2023 but there’s no denying the likes of Musk and Bezos are showing some serious interest.

“We’ve seen Tim Cook, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos all take a look around F1 in the past two US-based races,” Mark Turner, CEO of Seamless Digital, a technology company in F1 that already work with McLaren and Google, told The US Sun.

“That is more proof America is really leaning into all things technology in the sport at the moment.”