According to new research, revenue at Formula One has raced to a total of $16.2 billion over the past 15 years outstripping its closest rival soccer's FIFAWorldCup.
The window of comparison between the two covers the period from the appointment of FIFA’s embattled president Sepp Blatter in 1998. Blatter was re-elected for a four-year term on Friday despite FIFA being embroiled in a scandal after 14 of its senior executives were charged with corruption last week.
In the report, the World Cup takes place every four years and during the period after Mr Blatter was appointed FIFA had revenue of $1.9 billion. By the four years to the previous tournament in Brazil in 2014 FIFA’s revenue had ballooned to $5.7 billion thanks to blockbuster broadcasting deals and sponsorship agreements with blue chip brands including Adidas, Coca-Cola and Visa. It brings FIFA’s total revenue to $14.5 billion since 1999 which is a major milestone but nothing close to F1.
F1's ultimate parent company is Delta Topco which is based on the offshore island of Jersey. Its biggest shareholder is the private equity firm CVC which has a 35% stake in it. The second-largest shareholder is American asset management firm Waddell & Reed, which has 20.9%, followed by the estate of bankrupt investment bank Lehman Brothers with 12.3%. Bambino Holdings, the Ecclestone family trust, owns 8.5% with 5.3% in Mr Ecclestone’s hands and the remainder held by other banks, funds and management.
The report further reveals that Topco’s revenue comes from six sources. Starting at the bottom, sales of vending and concession stands at tracks brought in $33.9 million in 2013, the latest year for which accounts are available. Junior series GP2 made a total of $34.1 million from selling cars and parts to its teams whilst F1’s corporate hospitality outfit the Paddock Club had revenue of $87.8 million.
Next up is $259 million from selling trackside advertising at each race and sponsorship of the series. This comes from companies like parcel delivery service DHL and luxury watch maker Rolex which are both official F1 partners. The two remaining sources of F1’s revenue are the biggest – fees from hosting and broadcasting races. They each bring in roughly the same amount and in 2013 it came to a combined $1.3 billion.
According to the report, in 1999 the operating company of the series was Formula One Administration and company records show that it had revenue of just $341.5 million. Interest in the series has exploded since then as car manufacturers piled in and Mr Ecclestone added new races in Asia and the Middle East. It has fuelled F1’s rise to become the world’s most-watched annual sports series and last year it had 425 million television viewers.
Furthermore, between 1999 and 2013 F1’s revenue came to a total of $16.2 billion which already outstrips FIFA’s even though it does not include the amount for 2014 unlike its rival. Since 1999 F1’s revenue has risen five times compared to a three-fold increase at FIFA. This turbo-charged performance is thanks to Mr Ecclestone.
In a research conducted by the Express newspaper last year it was revealed that Mr Ecclestone has signed deals worth an estimated $23.4 billion in the 30 years since he took over the helm of F1. It is understood to be more than any other individual in the history of professional sport has raised.