The motorsport media industry has undergone another shake-up, with the Haymarket Media Group agreeing to sell its motorsport brands to rival outfit Motorsport News.
The sale includes the acclaimed Autosport (both the magazine and online site), the F1 Racing and Motorsport News magazine titles and the LAT photographic agency, long considered one of the greatest motorsport photographic agencies in the world. Also included in the sale is the annual Autosport International Show and the acclaimed Autosport Awards ceremony.
The value of the transaction has not been revealed publicly.
Motorsport News, based in the United States, owns the highly valuable Motorsport.com domain. Until the recent hiring of a number of high-profile journalists – a number of whom coincidentally once worked for Autosport – the website was widely derided for its use of low-level (and extremely cheap) screen-scraping motorsport news agencies, while occasionally paying a pittance for the odd column from a pass-holding insider journalist to bash out a few hundred words and a clickbait-worthy headline.
While the content and quality of Motorsport.com has improved markedly under the editorial leadership of F1 veteran Jon Noble, conversely the offerings from the Haymarket Media Group has continued its slow and steady decline. Despite a significant upgrade to the Autosport.com website, its content has drifted towards sensationalism in a vain attempt to attract new readers.
Its once outstanding F1 Racing monthly is now an embarrassment of its former self, and it is little surprise that it and its sister publication Motorsport News have been thrown in with the sale package.
At the end of the day, the transaction comes down to the fight for the slim advertising revenues that are becoming harder to acquire as more players enter the space of online motorsport journalism. Far too many websites are run and written by alleged journalists who cannot write and don’t have the insider connections because they have never set foot inside a Grand Prix paddock. They sponge off the work of professional journalists who have earned their stripes in the field, and try to pass the work off as their own.
‘If you can’t beat ’em, buy ’em,’ or so the saying goes. Motorsport.com will use the purchase to consolidate as many readers into one website as possible and then use that leverage to sell advertising space.
The margins are very small, and this acquisition will no doubt mean that the number of full-time journalists being sent to Grands Prix will reduce in order to keep costs contained.
That is why it is more important than ever to continue to support professional, independent motorsport news organizations – just like MotorsportM8.com – to continue to provide you with the best coverage in the industry. We have a professional team who have experience in the industry on the ground at every Grand Prix – that kind of knowledge and experience is priceless.
Image via Premjith Narayanan