Teaching Resources Library

Strategy

Leadership

Formula 1: Unleashing the Greatest Spectacle on the Planet

By

ABSTRACT

In 2017, U.S.- based Liberty Media, owner of the Atlanta Braves baseball team and streaming music provider SiriusXM among other properties, purchased Formula 1, the commercial organization behind the motorsport of F1 from CVC, a Luxembourg private equity firm. The well-seasoned management team that took over inherited a sport that, while profitable, had  only a small business organization supporting it. In addition to building out a business infrastructure, the team’s goal was to evolve F1 from a motorsport into a global entertainment brand, akin to the  National Basketball Association (NBA). In short, they wanted to create the greatest spectacle on the planet. The question was how to do this? On the sporting side, races had become predictable and lacked consistent wheel-to-wheel action. On the commercial side, the sport needed a younger, more diverse fan base which would inevitably engage with the sport differently than generations past.  In addition to its sporting and commercial obligations, F1 played a critically important role as a technology leader for the automotive industry. Would Formula 1’s new management be able to find the right balance between these three important albeit, at times conflicting, roles.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

  • Explore the sporting, commercial, and societal challenges facing a professional sports organization and how these challenges are interrelated.
  • Understand the role of data in strategy development on both the sporting and commercial sides of a professional sports organization.
  • Assess the strategies used to transform a sport into a global entertainment brand.
  • Examine how a professional sports organization balances retaining the traditional fan base while also attracting new fans. 
  • Discuss the roles and responsibilities of a professional sports organization within the global society.
 

COULD BE TAUGHT IN THE FOLLOWING COURSE(S)

strategy, leadership, sports management, business of sports, sports analytics

Educator Copy*

*An educator (non-watermarked) copy of this case is available only to individuals who hold teaching positions at academic institutions and want to use the case in a course.