Recent reports state that Saudi Arabia considered buying Formula 1 till a few roadblocks appeared.
Cash Is King
As of late, Saudi Arabia has had a strong grip-hold over the sporting world. It has come to associate itself with numerous sporting events and has invested billions of dollars in various such sports. Formula 1 is no exception. There was backlash and accusations of ‘blood money’ levied against Formula 1 for deciding to go racing at Jeddah for the first time in 2021. Drivers like Lewis Hamilton and a significant portion of the Formula 1 fanbase highlighted the abysmal human rights and queer rights track record of Saudi Arabia.
Formula 1 struck a huge sponsorship deal with Saudi Aramco in 2020. When cash is king, there is little room for morality.
The assimilation of Saudi and major sporting events has been labeled as an attempt to ‘whitewash’ its image and polish its stature in the international realm.
Saudi Arabia Offered Billions To Acquire Formula 1
A recent Bloomberg report stated that Saudi Arabia considered purchasing Formula 1. You can bet that the offer on the table wasn’t a small one. Through the Public Investment Fund, Saudi wasn’t afraid to spend big and put an offer of $20B on the table.
But the deal fell through in its early stages. Liberty Media Corporation reportedly refused to sell the franchise to Saudi Arabia. Formula 1, as a franchise has seen an increase in viewership over the past few years, owing to the widespread popularity of the F1-based Netflix docuseries – Drive To Survive. Consequently, Liberty Media stocks have increased manifolds and is now valued at around $15B.
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund remains interested in the purchase of Formula 1 motor-racing and is clearly not shy to bid big.
You might have seen Saudi Arabia and its Public Investment Fund in the news recently. There were recent reports suggesting that WWE Chairman, Vince McMahon was considering selling the World Wrestling Entertainment to Saudi Arabia. Another example that provides substance to accusations of sport-washing.
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