Recent media reports reveal that Saudi Arabia made an attempt to add Formula One to its ever-increasing list of sporting properties but were not successful. Their attempt failed as the current owners of the motorsport series rejected the offer which apparently valued F1 at a whopping $20 billion dollars.
A report carried by Bloomberg suggests that a Saudi Arabia Investment fund did actually bid to buy F1 early in 2022. However, its current owner Liberty Media Corp which had bought F1 in 2017 for nearly $5 billion were not willing to sell it and negotiations between the two parties didn’t work out well either.
However, the same report even suggests that the Saudi Arabian wealth fund is still keen on purchasing F1 if Liberty Media reconsider their decision of not wanting to sell F1.
Is Saudi Arabia “sportswashing” poor human rights track record?
The middle-eastern country, in the recent times, has been actively adding sporting tournaments in its tally one after the other. Many believe that this is one of their ways of “sportswashing” the human rights issue that have been a concern in this part of the world. Not only did Saudi Arabia’s fund purchase the English Premier League club Newcastle United, the country is even funding the LIV golf tour.
There were also reports which claimed that WWE, the world’s largest pro-wrestling company, was reportedly bought by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
These reports emerged hours after Stephanie McMahon resigned as the Chairwoman and Co-CEO days after her father, Vince McMahon, reversed his retirement to take over as the chairman of the board.
It is pertinent to highlight, that in 2020, Aramco, the world’s biggest producer of oil had signed a sponsorship deal with Formula 1. The Middle Eastern country will host the second Grand Prix of the 2023 season in Jeddah on March 19.