Bridgepoint, the private equity organization has today announced that it has brought MotoGP and World Superbike, the two motorcycle racing series it owns, under a single umbrella organization. The reorganization will see Dorna Sports become the parent organization for both series, though Infront will operate as an independent entity and continue to organize World Superbike under its own banner. Infront has also been named as "marketing advisor and global advisor" for both MotoGP and WSBK.
The implications of this announcement are huge, but not immediately clear. The logic behind the move is impeccable: the two series are spending too much of their time competing against each other instead of working together to promote the sport of motorcycle racing. By combining their marketing efforts, the hope is that both series will be made stronger.
The move is also not unexpected from Bridgepoint's perspective. The private equity firm purchased Dorna in 2006 when the MotoGP series was at the height of its popularity. It made a conscious decision to buy MotoGP. World Superbikes, on the other hand, came as part of the package when Bridgepoint took over Infront Sports and Media, the parent organization of Infront Motor Sports. Bridgepoint wanted Infront Sports and Media because of its strength in much larger sports markets such as soccer and winter sports. Ending up with the two world championship motorcycle racing series was never part of the plan.
Over the coming days, we shall be examining the full implications of this huge announcement. For the moment, we have published below the official press release from Dorna, InFront and Bridgepoint, along with the reaction from the FIM:
Bridgepoint brings together MotoGP™ and World Superbikes
Infront Sports & Media to act as marketing partner and global advisor for both championships
Bridgepoint has announced that Dorna Sports and Infront Sports & Media have reached agreement to bring both their motorcycle racing interests under a single umbrella organisation. Dorna is the organiser of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (“MotoGP™”), whilst Infront organises the eni FIM Superbike World Championship (“WorldSBK”) through its subsidiary Infront Motor Sports.
As a consequence, MotoGP and WorldSBK, will be integrated within the Dorna Sports group but managed as separate events with a view to enhancing the two distinct championships. The objective is to allow both series to develop and enhance their championship personalities, retaining their leadership positions in the arena of world motorcycle road racing - WorldSBK, with its focus on production-based racing, and MotoGP with its focus on prototype racing. At the same time, both championships will benefit from joint marketing and commercial strategies.
Alongside this re-organisation, Infront has been appointed as marketing partner and global advisor to both championships.
Philippe Blatter, President & CEO of Infront Sports & Media, said: “Under the new structure, the two leading motorcycle road racing events are now set for sustainable further growth and development. A true win-win situation has been created. Both Dorna and Infront can now further strengthen and focus on their core competencies and, in addition, achieve leading positions in their specific area of expertise.”
Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports, added: “We’re very excited to have the two top motorcycle road racing series under one roof. We fully expect to develop and strengthen the distinct nature of both MotoGP and WorldSBK as separate properties and remain committed to working with teams and manufacturers, circuit owners, sponsors and broadcasters to give fans the best experience yet.”
Commenting on the re-organisation, Bridgepoint said: “This is a logical and exciting development which should ensure that both these fantastic Championships continue to flourish.”
About Dorna Sports
Dorna Sports is an international sports management, marketing and media company, founded in 1988. The organisation has its headquarters in Madrid, and further branch offices in Barcelona, London and Tokyo. Dorna has been the exclusive commercial and television rights holder for the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix MotoGP since 1992. With more than 60 years of history MotoGP™ is the pinnacle of motorcycle racing. Dorna has an all-encompassing Grand Prix event management philosophy, with 360º direct involvement in all areas of the MotoGP™ World Championship. Dorna has additional involvement in further motorcycling events, such as the Spanish National Championship (CEV) and the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, which seeks to promote the development of the next generation of riding talent.
About Infront Sports & Media
Infront Sports & Media, based in Zug, Switzerland, is one of the leading international sports marketing groups in the world. Known for its high standards of delivery, the company covers all aspects of a successful sport event – including distribution of media rights, sponsorship, media production and event operations. As a leading player in winter sport, football and other summer sports, Infront enjoys long-lasting partnerships with 130 rights-holders and hundreds of sponsors and media companies. With an experienced and passionate team of 500 staff in 20 offices across 10 countries, the Group helps to annually deliver 3,300 event days of top class sport around the world.
Bridgepoint is a European private equity firm focussing on the acquisition of companies valued up to €1 billion. With some €11 billion of capital raised to date, it typically focuses on acquiring well managed companies in attractive sectors with the potential to grow organically or through acquisition. It has offices throughout in Frankfurt, Istanbul, London, Luxembourg, Madrid, Milan, Paris, Stockholm and a portfolio development office in Shanghai. It invested in Dorna Sports in 2006 and in Infront Sports & Media in 2011.
FIM Statemeent following the announcement by Bridgepoint
The Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) has taken due note of Bridgepoint’s announcement that it is reorganising its motor sport interests by bringing MotoGP and World Superbikes together under one umbrella organisation. The FIM President Vito Ippolito said of the reorganisation: “I welcome Bridgepoint’s decision to bring the two championships together within a single organisation. We shall shortly be holding a meeting of all the stakeholders in order to reposition the two championships annd look into the technical and operational implications. We shall then be able to adapt the regulationns to ensure that they have a distinct identity in future.”