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F1 reports record $386m loss in 2020

NEWS STORY
26/02/2021

As F1 reveals the financial figures for the final-quarter in 2020, the sport reports a record loss of $386m (£276m)

Team payments last year came to $711m (£508.7m) compared to $1.012bn (£72m) in 2019, down by 30%, while overall revenue was down 43% from $2.022bn (£1.45bn).

"Team payments decreased in the full year driven by the contraction in F1 revenue and the associated impact on the calculation of variable elements of team payments," said Liberty Media in its financial statement today. "Team payments in 2020 included one-time fees paid to teams upon signing the 2021 Concorde Agreement."

As expected, despite putting a 17-race schedule together, F1 was hit hard by the pandemic, for in putting together its revised calendar the sport was forced to waive hosting fees for most events and essentially hire the venues. Fans were only in attendance, albeit in reduced numbers, at three races.

Primary F1 revenue represents the majority of F1's revenue and is derived from race promotion fees, broadcasting fees and advertising and sponsorship fees. For the year ended December 31, 2020, these revenue streams comprised 12%, 55% and 17%, respectively, of total F1 revenue.

Primary F1 revenue increased in the fourth quarter primarily due to growth in broadcast revenue as a result of the pro-rata recognition of such revenue, with 7 of the 17 races taking place in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to 5 of the 21 races taking place in the fourth quarter of 2019, partly offset by the impact of one-time contract fee renegotiations with certain broadcasters for 2020.

Race promotion and advertising & sponsorship revenue both declined in the fourth quarter, while race promotion revenue was limited as fans were prohibited from attending all but two races during the fourth quarter.

Advertising & sponsorship fees declined driven by one-time changes in sponsorship contracts due to the cancellation of races to which contracted sponsorship inventory specifically related and the limited activities at the races, including hospitality.

Primary F1 revenue declined in the full year. Race promotion revenue decreased as fans were prohibited from attending all but three races, which led to one-time changes in the contractual terms of the originally scheduled races that remained on the 2020 calendar and limited revenue generated from the replacement races that were added.

Broadcast revenue decreased as the altered schedule triggered lower fees pursuant to the contractual terms of certain broadcast agreements, as well as other one-time contract negotiations that took place in 2020.

Advertising & sponsorship revenue declined as F1 was prevented from delivering all elements of a typical sponsorship offering due to the cancellation of certain events to which contracted sponsorship inventory related and the limited activities available at the races, including hospitality. This led to a number of one-time changes in sponsorship fees for 2020, and in some cases the deferral of revenue related to undelivered sponsorship contract rights into future years.

Other F1 revenue decreased in the fourth quarter due to the non-operation of the Paddock Club at all events but one race, and even then with strictly limited capacity, and lower freight revenue driven by fewer flyaway races, partially offset by increased revenue from the F2 and F3 support series as there were two additional races in the current period compared to the prior year.

For the full year, other F1 revenue decreased due to less races held, the non-operation of the Paddock Club and lower freight revenue, partially offset by increases in licensing and digital media income driven primarily by growth in F1 TV subscriptions.

Operating loss grew and adjusted OIBDA decreased in the fourth quarter and full year 2020. Team payments increased in the fourth quarter due to the pro rata recognition of prize fund payments across the race season, and team payments decreased in the full year driven by the contraction in F1 revenue and the associated impact on the calculation of variable elements of team payments. Team payments in 2020 included one-time fees paid to teams upon signing the 2021 Concorde Agreement.

Other cost of F1 revenue is largely variable in nature and mostly relates to revenue opportunities. These costs decreased in the fourth quarter and full year due to lower hospitality and lower freight costs from fewer, logistically cheaper races. Selling, general and administrative expense decreased in the fourth quarter and full year primarily due to lower personnel and other expenses and reduced discretionary marketing expense.

"We are planning a record-setting 23 race calendar in 2021," said Stefano Domenicali, "and continue to work with governments, promoters and local organizations as we navigate COVID-19 protocols and regulations.

"We've been excited to see drivers, celebrities and fans engage as we once again hosted the F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix in 2021 and we look forward to the start of the season in Bahrain on March 28th."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by TSGoodchild, 26/02/2021 17:31

"Come on Roli - that just is not true. Sure, the Mercedes domination has made the outcome of the championship predictable for the past 7 seasons, but to say the racing doesn't exist and its a procession is such a throwaway comment that is simply unfair. There were plenty of great races in 2020 as there have been over all seasons in recent memory. Why did they bring in DRS...to encourage overtaking. Please do go back to races from the Schumacher era and my god was is a Sunday bore of literally no overtaking at all. "

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2. Posted by Roli, 26/02/2021 16:35

"Not surprised really, would love to see the viewing figures as I suspect that F1 is losing a lot of watchers and fans. The racing just isn't racing anymore, more of a procession."

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