SX Global announced its plans today for the first comprehensive global supercross series. It will be backed by Mubadala Capital, the asset management subsidiary of Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, which is investing at least $50 million in Australia-based SX Global.
Supercross has traditionally been a U.S.-centric sport in which off-road motorcycles navigate jumps and obstacles on a dirt track in football and baseball stadiums. Feld Entertainment operates the 17-event Monster Energy AMA Supercross, which had its first season in 1974 and is the preeminent supercross property with all of the best riders. There have been supercross events in Europe and Australia, including outdoor competitions, but Australian entrepreneur Tony Cochrane, who runs SX Global, wants to take the sport to stadiums around the world in a traditional series format.
“Being in a stadium environment allows an incredible and unique combination of live sport and entertainment with proven success in the USA,” Adam Bailey, managing director, motorsport at SX Global said in an email. “It absolutely makes sense for us to create a truly global FIM Supercross World Championship for the first time.”
In December, motorcycle racing’s governing body, Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM), awarded SX Global the rights to manage and promote the FIM Supercross World Championship over the coming decade. The series will launch with a “pilot” season of five events between September and November of 2022. It will expand in 2023 to begin the season in June. By focusing on the second half of the year, SX sees its new global events as a complement to the Monster Energy Supercross series, which runs through May every year.
SX Global will offer 10 team licenses to independent owners, similar to NASCAR’s charter model. The Mubadala investment will provide seed funding for every team entering the series, appearance fees for the riders, and logistics support throughout the series. SX sees the independent ownership model as a key to driving sponsorship opportunities.
The events will follow the established two-class format of 250-cc and 450-cc. In addition to appearance fees, riders will compete for $250,000 in prize money at each event.
Cochrane has spent more than four decades in the motorsports industry. He was behind the growth of the Australia-based auto racing series V8 Supercars and sold a stake in the series at a $300 million valuation to Archer Capital in 2011.
Mubadala has previous experience in the sports industry. In 2014, it invested in talent agency Endeavor, which subsequently bought the UFC and the Professional Bull Riders tour. It was part of the $3.5 billion sale of the YES Network in 2019, alongside Yankee Global Enterprises, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Amazon, RedBird Capital and Blackstone. It currently owns 13% of the country’s most watched regional sports network. Mubadala’s CEO, Khaldoon Al Mubarak, is also chairman of Manchester City.
“Our commitment to SX Global and the FIM Supercross World Championship builds on our strategy and track record of selectively investing in premier content properties with strong global appeal,” Adib Martin Mattar, head of private equity at Mubadala Capital, said in a press release.
Mubadala has $243 billion in assets under management.