Chase Carey is the man entrusted to lead Liberty Media’s substantial investment in Formula 1, and the man with the impressive moustache was seen being escorted around the Marina Bay paddock on the opening day of the Singapore Grand Prix weekend.
Liberty Media, led by American media legend John C. Malone, have bought Formula1 1 for $4.4 billion and Carey is the man who will call the shots in his role as Chairman. And by all accounts he is a hands on kind of guy…
Hollywood Reporter quotes Macquarie Capital analyst Amy Yong saying, “[Malone] has often used talent he trusts and shuffles them around as appropriate. The fact that he brought [Carey] back from a previous relationship with DirecTV is a sign of confidence in Carey’s ability to execute.”
“Formula One is one of the few remaining undermonetized sports franchises complete with global recognition and a loyal, high-income fan base. We believe it can reach its full potential under the leadership of chairman Chase Carey and Liberty,” predicted Yong.
Wunderlich Securities analyst Matthew Harrigan added, “I think Formula One is the right project for Chase. I view Chase more as a sports than an entertainment guy. Chase is the maestro of sports rights monetization.”
Hollywood Reporter writes: “Carey, who oversaw the lucrative Fox Sports properties, knows how to promote the value of sports and its ability to reach a huge live audience.”
But warned: “His biggest challenge might be keeping Bernie Ecclestone, who will remain CEO of Formula One, in check. The 85-year-old Ecclestone, who is as colorful and headline-grabbing as some of F1’s star drivers, has effectively controlled the sport since the late 1970s and never has seemed to play well with others nor been willing to groom a successor.”
In 2014 Ecclestone famously declared, “I’d rather get to the 70-year-old guy who’s got plenty of cash. So, there’s no point trying to reach these kids because they won’t buy any of the products here.”
“Young kids will see the Rolex brand but are they going to go and buy one? They can’t afford it. Or our other sponsor, UBS — these kids don’t care about banking. They haven’t got enough money to put in the bloody banks anyway,” added Ecclestone, which was in steep contrast to the Liberty Media way of thinking.
Carey explained, “There are multiple dimensions to developing the digital opportunities in Formula One. There is the marketing potential in telling the Formula One story, and it’s a great story with some of the most attractive stars in the world — great drivers, great teams, great brands, great technology.”
“So it’s taking advantage of that and making it successful, really exciting that fan base, and using the data capabilities of digital media.”
“No question the digital platforms are essentially becoming a part of the larger video marketplace. It’s creating new competition for these rights, new opportunities to exploit these rights in different ways, to take advantage of what each of the platforms has to offer,” added Carey.
However these plans are all long term as a number of Formula 1 deals, negotiated by Ecclestone and his team, are ongoing into the 2020s. Change will take time.
Robin Jellis, editor of research firm TV Sports Markets, warned that despite the Liberty takeover swift changes to the Formula 1 rights business were unlikely, “We don’t expect to see an immediate impact on the value of its media rights.”
“Many of its most valuable deals are tied up in the long term – it has deals with Sky in the U.K. from 2019 to 2024, and separate deals with Fox Networks Group covering Latin America until 2019 and Asia until 2022.”
“Deals in most territories run until at least the end of 2017, when the rights become available in France, Germany, Italy and Spain, among others,” said Jellis.
Nevertheless, while previous owners CVC lurked in the shadows on the Formula 1 paddock, Liberty Media will be in your face and Carey will be the man to pry the helm from Ecclestone’s aging hands and sail the Formula 1 ship into new waters – and he has the pedigree to do so.
Financial Times writes that 62 year old Carey “is revered on Wall Street, where his negotiating skills are as notable as his impressive handlebar moustache.”
Rich Greenfield, an analyst with BTIG Research, told FT, “He is one of the hardest negotiators in the business. He has a long history with John Malone and he loves sports.The Formula One switch is a great move for him.”
Here are a selection of Chase Carey quotes:
“At the end of the day, the core question is who provides the best television experience.”
“People don’t buy technology, they buy content…You have got to have content that is married to (technology).”
“If it requires us sacrificing short-term growth or sacrificing long-term growth to make sure we’re adding profitable subscribers, that’s a trade-off we’ll make.”
“Formula 1 is a great global sport, a great franchise and one we’re just going to continue to build on the things Bernie has built. We want to make it everything it can be.”
“I want to be clear, we didn’t make this move [buy F1] because of America. America is an opportunity, I think we can do a lot more [there], but it’s probably more long-term than short-term.”