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Formula One to follow ‘league first’ NFL model to grow sport

Formula One to follow 'league first' NFL model to grow sport

Formula One owners Liberty Media will not follow the example of the sport’s previous regime and set the 10 teams against each other when negotiating the next commercial deal in 2026, according to CEO Greg Maffei.

F1’s major stakeholders are bound by the Concorde Agreement, which outlines the commercial terms each will compete under. The next deal will run from 2026 until 2030.

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Introduced by former F1 head Bernie Ecclestone in 1981, negotiations around Concorde Agreements would often be fractious, with teams vying to get for the best deal for themselves.

However, Liberty Media — who took control of the sport in 2017 — are looking to follow the NFL approach of having the teams negotiate with the sport’s best interests in mind.

“The prior regime really did put a lot of time in having the teams compete against each other,” Maffei said. “In many cases, they enjoyed just getting an edge on each other, rather than thinking about how to grow the sport.

“We’ve tried to take really a page out of, I’d say in some ways, the NFL in the United States: compete hard on Sunday, but on Monday [it’s] league first.

“We really want to grow the sport together. The teams have embraced that, and profited from that, because they’ve not only seen the growth in F1 revenues and their share of the profits in their own sponsorship, but we’ve also seen growth in the value of teams.”

Maffei still expects there to be some areas where the teams do not agree.

“There are surely issues we’re going to fight over. What a surprise: they would like to make more money. I don’t begrudge them that,” he said.

“I suspect some of that, they wish, might come out of our pocket. But in general, they appreciate we’ve tried to take the long view, and we try to take the view that we should all profit together.”

Liberty’s first Concorde Agreement was negotiated during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 to begin the following season and implemented a budget cap of $135 million per team, the first of its kind in F1 history.

The sport has enjoyed a huge boom of worldwide popularity under Liberty’s stewardship.

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