Sachsenring as a fixed point in the MotoGP calendar: Will Liberty Media change that?

The 2024 MotoGP German Grand Prix is ​​history. And it was once again a complete success: 252,826 fans flocked to the Sachsenring over the entire race weekend, setting a new attendance record for the third year in a row. The German GP became a real crowd puller, especially in the period after the Corona pandemic. In 2022 it was the best-attended event of the entire season, only beaten by Le Mans last year. The Sachsenring is also in second place in the provisional rankings for 2024, behind Le Mans (297,471 fans).

Sachsenring scores with cheap MotoGP tickets

The fact that the organizers can look forward to such a rush year after year is undoubtedly also due to the low ticket prices at the Sachsenring. In 2025, a standing ticket for the entire weekend will cost just 99 euros. At comparable Grands Prix in Europe, such a ticket can easily cost 50 percent more. “The Sachsenring has always been a family event,” explains Klaus Klötzner, chairman of the ADAC Saxony.

Start of the MotoGP race at the Sachsenring
Full grandstands have been guaranteed at the Sachsenring for years, Photo: ADAC

“We want a big party that is affordable for everyone,” confirms Lutz Oeser, Managing Director of Sachsenring Event GmbH. It is not yet possible to say whether this will be possible in the future. With the takeover of MotoGP rights holder Dorna by Formula 1 counterpart Liberty Media, a significant increase in the license fees that every local organizer has to pay to the rights holder is to be expected. In Formula 1, for example, Liberty increased revenue in this area by around 50 percent in the past six years to around 693 million euros last year, which means an average of over 31 million euros per Grand Prix.

MotoGP royalties: An unequal battle

Figures that MotoGP is far from. License fees here are usually in the mid-single-digit million range. But that could change with the takeover by Liberty Media and the associated planned development of new markets. Because additional applicants logically drive up license prices even further. Not an easy situation for German GP promoter ADAC and the Sachsenring, who are already facing financially overwhelming competition. “We are a Gallic village,” says Sachsenring managing director Oesner. “We are in competition with Silverstone, Austin or Qatar, where money has apparently been abolished. We finance ourselves 90 percent and are supported by the Free State of Saxony. But it is not like other countries that pay the full fee.”

Legendary castles in the air: MotoGP has never raced here (07:03 min.)

A fact that could put those responsible for the German Grand Prix in a difficult negotiating position in the future – the current contract runs until 2026 inclusive. In Formula 1, there has not been a race weekend in Germany for years, primarily for financial reasons. “Liberty obviously wants to make everything much bigger,” says Oesner. “But you can’t compare Formula 1 with MotoGP. It’s a completely different audience. Liberty can’t just double the license fees to make more money. That will backfire. At the moment, of course, we have this sword of Damocles hanging over us that the rich Americans are coming and want to change everything. But it’s not good to completely reject these new approaches. We have to give them a chance.”

What speaks for the Sachsenring in MotoGP?

Due to a lack of large financial resources, those responsible for the German GP want to convince people on a different level. “Dorna needs to see how many spectators go to the Sachsenring and how much acceptance their sponsors have for this event,” says Oesner. “We are also repeatedly told that the German Grand Prix feels like a vacation for those responsible because they know that everything works here. This know-how must be our flagship.” ADAC Saxony board member Klötzner hopes that Dorna will then pass these strengths on to the new rulers at Liberty Media: “The Dorna management should remain responsible and I think that the appropriate persuasive work will then be done.”

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