F1 posts $104 million loss in Q3 despite rise in revenue

2020 F1 season

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Liberty Media has published its financial results for the third quarter of 2020, showing an overall loss of $104 million for the period.

Revenue fell by $36 million versus the same period last year, despite three more races being held during that time compared to 2019.

F1’s finances have been significantly affected by the global coronavirus pandemic this season. Q1 saw the championship post revenue of just $40 million following the cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix and the start of significant calendar trouble. The biggest impact was felt in Q2, when revenues of just $24 million were recorded, as no events took place during the time.

Q3 saw the return to racing and the first 10 grands prix of the 2020 season, from which F1 has posted a dramatically improved $597 million revenue. However this still fell short of the $633 million generated during the third quarter of last year.

The disparity in terms of profit was greater still. F1 earned $44 million in the third quarter of 2019, but lost $104 million this year. The sport attributed this partly to changes in race earnings due to the inability to allow ticket sales to fans.

“Primary F1 revenue decreased mainly due to the limited race promotion revenue received since fans were prohibited at all but one race during the third quarter,” said F1 in a statement.

The lower earnings from fees paid by race promoters was somewhat mitigated by the increased number of races which were staged during the three-month period. This also secured income from broadcast rights and at-event sponsorship fees over the period.

But with only 17 races scheduled to take place in the disrupted 2020 season, rather than the 22 originally planned, the value of overall annual broadcasting and sponsorship contracts for the season will be lower.

“Both broadcasting and advertising-and-sponsorship revenues were lower than originally contracted,” the series acknowledged. “The altered schedule triggered lower broadcasting fees pursuant to the contractual terms within certain broadcasting agreements and also led to other one-time changes as certain broadcasting fees were renegotiated for the current year.”

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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9 comments on “F1 posts $104 million loss in Q3 despite rise in revenue”

  1. I fail to understand how F1 can lose money. What expenses do they have? Someone handling their social media and someone making the F1 Pro app, what else?

    1. @paeschli let me sum up some of it:
      1. paying the teams. Sure it is based on last years points/positions, but they do have to pay the teams something
      2. cost for logistics – shipping stuff all over the world (starting with Australia, stuff was possibly on the way to Bahrain etc too. And off course the back and forth through Europe, to Russia etc).
      3. Don’t forget that F1 has the production of the live feed in their own hands, so they have all the equipment and the team to do that on their pay list. And yeah, the cost for the timing app and the F1 Pro app too.
      4. payments of interest on loans taken on will also go towards the cost.

      The last chunk would be actually having to pay some tracks for hosting races this year.

  2. Losing so much in Q3… Now I get it why they desperately want to change qualifying system!

    1. And also why Saudi Arabia @huhhii!

  3. Mmm nice little tax right off coming their way.

  4. Must be all those masks! :-)

  5. Better than expected, my stock has gone up.

  6. Is it a loss or reduced revenue?

    1. Both. Reduced revenue compared to same period last year and actual losses for the quarter.

      And this year Q3 had three races than last year Q3 too, meaning less money coming I despite more races (from less ticket sales and reduced hosting fees.

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