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Dorna Sports

Dorna Sports, S.L.
Sociedad Limitada
Industry Sports management
Founded Madrid, Spain (May 27, 1998 (1998-05-27))
Headquarters Madrid, Spain
Area served
Key people
  • Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO
  • Enrique Aldama, COO/CFO
Products MotoGP, World Superbikes
Owner Bridgepoint

Dorna Sports, S.L. is the commercial rights holder for the motorcycling sport of MotoGP.

Established in 1988 as an international sports management and marketing company, it is headquartered in Madrid, with offices in Barcelona, London and Tokyo. Set up by Banco Banesto as Dorna promoción del deporte, the company was sold to CVC Madrid in 1998 as the operation developed internationally and was renamed Dorna Sports. Private equity group Bridgepoint has been the majority shareholder of Dorna since 2006.[1]

Rights holdings

Since 1992 Dorna has been the exclusive holder of all commercial and television rights relating to the MotoGP World Championship, from 2001 has also held the commercial and television rights for the Supercross GP World Championship and since 2013 the Superbike World Championship.[2] The company also participates in the management and marketing of other motorsports properties, including: the Spanish Road Racing Championship (CEV), the British Superbike Championship (BSB) and the Trials World Championships (Indoor and Outdoor).


Dorna recognised, with support from manufacturers, that a change was needed in the sport. The costs of developing specialist two-stroke engines, which created non-commercial end products, was not sustainable. Hence, in its efforts to bring about the change from 500 cc racing to MotoGP four-stroke racing, Dorna has managed to take away the FIM’s (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) power in rule-making and turn the keys to the rule-making castle over to the MSMA (the GP Manufacturers Association).

Scheduling with Formula One

A gentlemen’s agreement has allegedly existed for some time between Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta and Bernie Ecclestone, CEO of Formula One rights holder FOM, to do what is necessary to avoid a direct TV conflict between F1 and MotoGP. At schedule-making time there is consultation between the two sides, but, in general, when F1 makes a change creating a conflict with a MotoGP date, MotoGP responds by changing dates.


Set up by Banco Banesto as Dorna promocion del deporte, the company was sold to CVC Madrid in 1998 as the operation developed internationally and was renamed Dorna Sports. The purchase was closely supervised by American Hardy McLain, cost $80 million (approximately), half of which was needed to pay off Dorna debt. McLain, one of the founders of CVC and formerly an executive of Citibank (CVC emerged from Citibank in 1981), was present at several motorcycle Grand Prix events in 1998 but, confident in the ability of Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, has left the running of the company to Spaniard and the almost completely Spanish Dorna executive leadership.[3]

Sale to management

In November 2005 CVC Capital Partners announced it was to acquire the 25% and 48% shares of Bambino and Bayerische Landesbank in Formula1 commercial rights holder SLEC and acquired the shares of JP Morgan Chase in December 2005. This deal was given approval by the European Commission on 21 March 2006 subject to the sale of Dorna Sports.[4]

By divesting Dorna, the Commission concluded that CVC’s Formula One transaction would not cause competition concerns. Competition commissioner Neelie Kroes, said: “When the two most popular motor sport events in the EU, Formula One and Moto GP, come in the hands of one owner, there is a risk of price increases for the TV rights to these events and a reduction in consumer choice. I am satisfied that the commitments given by CVC will eliminate this risk.” [5] Its final 71% stake in Dorna was sold by CVC for £400million on 28 March, selling the holding to Dorna Sports management.

Questionable Practices

In 2005, with the growth of the Internet, Dorna began the controversial practice of charging for Press Credentials for online publications. The "fee" varied from 100 euros to 1000 euros. Most newsworthy publications turned their back on this flagrant exploitation by the event promoter.


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