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Formula 1 AlphaTauri Imola January testing

F1 owner Liberty Media tops list of world’s most valuable “sports empires”

Formula 1 owner Liberty Media has retained its place at the top of the Forbes magazine list of the most valuable “sports empires.”

The F1 logo lit up at night in the paddock

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Liberty has previously topped the Forbes Top 25 list, which consists mainly of individuals and entities that own several major US sports franchises, although some also own top European football teams.

The value of Liberty’s sports properties has shrunk since it spun off its baseball subsidiary, MLB team the Atlanta Braves, in July last year.

Despite that move lopping some 12% off the value of the company’s ownership of sports assets, it remains top of the list at $18.22 billion.

Liberty outranked Kroene Sports and Entertainment, owner of the Los Angeles Rams, Denver Nuggets and Arsenal FC among other properties, as it increased its value by 22% to $15.59 billion.

Third place went to Fenway Sports Group, owner of baseball team the Boston Red Sox, NHL franchise the Pittsburgh Penguins and Liverpool FC. The group's value also rose by a significant 25% to $12.95 billion.

Fenway now has a small connection to F1 as one of the minor shareholders in sports investment firm Arctos Partners, which acquired a stake in the Aston Martin team late last year.

An individual in the list with a more direct involvement in F1 is Stephen Ross, who owns the Miami Dolphins and is the promoter of the Miami GP that runs around his Hard Rock stadium. 

Ross has now broken into the Forbes Top 25 in 16th spot, owning sports assets with a value of $6.91 billion.

The only other F1 connection in the top 20 list is the Bamford family, owner of Aston Martin sponsor JCB, in 17th place.

Ecclestone becomes UK's second-highest tax payer

Bernie Ecclestone on the grid

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Bernie Ecclestone on the grid

Meanwhile, former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone narrowly missed topping the list of the UK’s top taxpayers of 2023, ranking in second place after losing a legal case last year obliged him to make a big payment to the UK tax authorities.

Ecclestone was named in second place in the Sunday Times' UK taxpayer list after a court case involving unpaid tax relating to £400m funds held in a trust in Singapore, and which dated back to 2015.

He paid a total of £652.6 million in tax and penalties to HMRC, the UK tax authority, which put him behind only Russian-born financial trader Alex Gerko, who topped the list on £664.5m.

List compiler Robert Watts noted: "Bernie Ecclestone, having contributed £652.6m this year, was a one-off win for the public finances. Without that payment, the total take on this year's taxes would have been down on last year."

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