• F1 Ownership

F1 takeover talk 'media driven' - Ecclestone

ESPNF1 Staff
April 28, 2011 « Bahrain deadline could be extended - Ecclestone | »
Bernie Ecclestone: "It looks very much like someone who is trying to see if they can make [money]" © Getty Images

Bernie Ecclestone has made yet another denial that he is in negotiations to sell Formula One's commercial rights to a consortium led by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

Murdoch-owned media outlets Sky News and the Times sparked rumours last week that News Corp was lining up a bid for the sport's commercial rights, the majority of which is owned by CVC Capital Partners and managed by Ecclestone.

The F1 supremo moved quickly to play down the initial reports and has now made another rebuttal to news agency Reuters.

"It's media driven," he said. "It looks very much like someone who is trying to see if they can make [money]. All of these people that get involved with these things, they get some victims and say 'We can make this happen, I'm sure we can do this' and then all they do is keep pumping fees in."

One of the sticking points with a News Corp takeover would be F1's commitment to broadcasting on free-to-air TV stations while Murdoch's media empire is built upon pay-subscription TV stations. Ecclestone said, in the unlikely event that F1 is sold, it would have to remain free-to-air in certain territories, a feature which has boosted the sport's exposure over the years.

"If, and I think the chances are close to zero, but if Murdoch was to buy certainly he'd have to broadcast some free to air like it is now."