News 8 Sep 2023

WSX championship rights-holder SX Global formally sold

European-based investors partner with Adam Bailey after Mubadala exit.

Image: Supplied.

SX Global has been formally sold to a group of new investors, the World Supercross Championship (WSX) rights-holder announced today in what signifies a lifeline of sorts for the business that holds a decade-long agreement with the FIM (Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme).

It was only March last year that Abu Dhabi-based sovereign investor Mubadala Capital was announced as a longterm strategic partner of WSX, in partnership with the Australian-based operators behind SX Global.

Initially led by veteran sporting and entertainment figure Tony Cochrane alongside AUS-X Open International founders Adam Bailey and Ryan Sanderson, both Cochrane and Sanderson had quietly departed SX Global earlier this year, with Mubadala also exiting since. An entirely new board will be implemented as part of the sale process.

With the 2023 season recently up in the air following the season-opening WSX British Grand Prix held in July, there has been widespread suggestion that all but the Abu Dhabi and Australian rounds will be cancelled. That would result in Singapore, Germany and Canada being dropped, while France had already been replaced by the Yas Island round in the United Arab Emirates capital.

It’s now been revealed that 25-year-old Frenchman Kyril Louis-Dreyfus and 42-year-old Uruguayan businessman Juan Sartori – namely co-owners of the English Sunderland Association Football Club – have acquired a controlling stake in SX Global alongside Bailey, who will stay on in a leadership position as CEO.

“I’m delighted to formally be involved with the FIM World Supercross Championship as part of the new ownership group,” said Louis-Dreyfus. “We’ve identified exciting opportunities for the burgeoning championship and can’t wait to further showcase the thrill of the sport and talent of these amazing athletes to more people around the world.

“While we aspire to expand and elevate WSX to become a globally renowned championship, we also recognise the need for immediate short-term changes to ensure a brighter future. There’s a lot of work to do, but we’re excited for the challenge.”

Louis-Dreyfus is a heir to the family that founded the powerful Louis-Dreyfus Group, which is a multi-billion dollar worldwide agriculture, food processing and international shipping empire. His mother Margarita Louis-Dreyfus is the chairperson of the Netherlands-based group.

Sartori added: “I’m incredibly excited to be involved in this fresh start for SX Global and the FIM World Supercross Championship. Supercross is an incredible spectacle with huge, huge potential. I’m very excited to get started on the task ahead, to grow the sport and showcase it to more fans and new locations around the world.”

While ‘further information and announcements relating to the FIM World Supercross Championship will be released soon’, the intention is to continue with the independent ownership model under a licensing system of 10 teams. It is unclear if the $50-million-plus (USD) that had been committed to those teams over the first five years will be available under new ownership.

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside Kyril and Juan on this new era for WSX, who share a genuine passion and transformational vision for the championship. Their commitment, experience and business acumen will be crucial in driving the next chapter of WSX,” said Bailey, who is understood to be the sole founder of SX Global that has remained involved.

“We’re committed to build upon our knowledge and learnings over our short 18-month history to deliver the ultimate fan experience, and a world class racing championship for both athletes and fans. Our vision has always been to add value to the sport of motorcycling and complement its growth, globally.

“We have a number of plans and initiatives already underway that we look forward to sharing in due course. We’d like to thank our fans, supporters, athletes and teams for their support since our inception and into this next phase of our progression.”