Seasoned Writer Offers $100M Advice to Formula 1 Chief for Retaining 125 Million Fans

The global appeal of Formula 1 skyrocketed following the launch of Netflix’s “Drive to Survive” (DTS) in 2019. Over the past four years, F1 has witnessed a substantial surge in viewership and revenue, making it a more lucrative enterprise than ever before. To sustain this momentum, renowned F1 journalist Tom Rubython offered a game-changing suggestion to Greg Maffei, CEO of Liberty Media, urging him to invest a staggering $100 million in securing the creators of this golden-egg-laying series, as reported by Business F1.

Formula 1 boasts nearly 500 million fans worldwide, firmly establishing itself as one of the planet’s most beloved sports. Rubython contends that approximately 125 million of these fans are drawn not so much by the actual races but by the Netflix series, eagerly anticipating each new season release, sometimes at the expense of live race viewership. Thus, Rubython’s proposal to acquire the production company responsible for the series appeared to be a golden opportunity.

F1 is renowned for its high operational costs, and even attending a race as a fan can be quite expensive. In pursuit of enhanced profitability for F1’s stakeholders, Rubython presented a concept in his editorial for BusinessF1 magazine. Unfortunately, Liberty Media’s CEO chose not to act on this counsel.

Rubython recalls, “I advised Maffei to make producers James Gay-Rees and Paul Martin very wealthy men by acquiring their Box to Box Films Ltd production company and securing their services for the future. I estimated it would cost him around $100 million.”

However, Maffei appeared to attribute Formula One’s newfound success more to his own leadership and that of his executive team, rather than to the Netflix series and the creative talents of the East London duo.

James Gay-Green and Paul Martin, the minds behind Box to Box Films, have played a significant yet somewhat understated role in boosting F1’s popularity. Therefore, Maffei’s decision to disregard Rubython’s advice might not have been the wisest move. Rubython further exemplified their genius by referencing the success of “Break Point” (Tennis) and “Full Swing” (Golf) series, both of which have had a transformative impact on their respective sports.

In a surprising twist, Maffei chose to invest three times the suggested amount to acquire a different company. He purchased QuintEvents, a move that Rubython deems as “neither here nor there.” Run by entrepreneurs who claim proficiency in their field, the acquisition cost Maffei over $313 million. Rubython believes this expenditure was excessive for a company that is unlikely to bring substantial value to F1.

With the perceived decline in the quality of “Drive to Survive” in recent seasons, there is concern that viewership may follow suit. The future of F1 and its behind-the-scenes fans remains uncertain, leaving us to wonder about the potential missed opportunities.


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