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Supercars news: Skaife, Broncos or ARG? Who will win the bid for Supercars

There’s no bigger Supercars news right now than the current bidding war to buy out Archer Capital’s majority share. It’s a nail biting and pivotal moment in Australian motorsport, with fans and teams given little transparency on what’s going on behind the scenes.

With the future of Supercars and V8 racing at stake and not much to go on right now, we thought we’d throw our hat in the ring for a little tongue-in-cheek take on where the key three bidders are at and what the future of Supercars could look like with each party at the wheel.

Who do you think will win the Supercars buyout deal? We want to hear your thoughts!

Adderton/Brisbane Broncos/News Corp consortium

What we know

The NRL’s Brisbane Broncos are a late addition to the recently rebooted ‘Adderton’ consortium who’ve been actively negotiating a Supercars buyout since current owners Archer Capital announced plans to shed its 60% majority share from its portfolio.

It might sound like a strange leap for an NRL team, but not when you consider that the consortium—led by Boost Mobile founder Peter Adderton, Superbikes legend Mick Doohan and BTCC Chief Executive Alan Gow—is largely financed by the Bronco’s majority owner, News Corp. News Corp’s masthead sports channel is of course, Fox Sports, Supercars primary broadcaster— making the club’s involvement in the potential deal far less of a head scratcher.

There’s endless speculation about the inner workings of the Broncos involvement, with the club staying tight-lipped on what’s happening behind the scenes. What we do know is that the Adderton/News Corp/Brisbane Broncos bid makes for a powerhouse combination with enormous potential, for good or evil.

Adderton’s experience operating in the Australian market, combined with News Corp’s buying power and media leverage, and Doohan’s understanding of the culture that made the Supercars a juggernaut brand in the 80s and 90s could be exactly the type of leadership Supercars will thrive under.

While early rumours indicated that things weren’t looking great for the Adderton crew, News Corp’s financial backing seems to have nullified early bid knockbacks, with the consortium reportedly now in the due diligence stage of bidding.

What a Brisbane Broncos/News Corp buyout will mean for Supercars culture?

There’s a lot to unpack here. No one knows how dynamics within the Adderton consortium could play out, so one can only speculate who within the group would have the biggest influence on Supercars culture. It’s easy to see the smart marketing play in introducing Supercars to a large Brisbane Broncos fan base, but with the NRL constantly plagued by controversies and accusations of harbouring a culture of booze, brawls and misconduct, could a Brisbane Broncos involvement negatively impact Supercars culture and reputation?

On the other side of the coin, Mick Doohan’s Superbike legacy and expertise can surely only bring a positive contribution to the sport. Could he help to rebuild the hype and phenomena of V8 racing in the 80s and 90s?

And of course, love him or hate him, the influence of Rubert Murdoch’s News Corp on public exposure and sentiment is undeniable. If there’s one entity that can pull the right strings to get what they want, when they want it, News Corp has a track record of getting the deal done. What this could mean for positioning Supercars in the public arena is an exciting prospect. Could this be exactly what the doctor ordered? We may never know.

What are the chances?

Despite initial bid knock backs, the Adderton consortium has refused to drop out of the race. It’s this never-say-die attitude that we love to see in Supercars news. Plus, the inclusion of the Broncos on the bill is a huge indicator that the bidding is serious. We give their chances of a buckin’ bronco — 25%.

TLA Worldwide/TGI Sport, fronted by Supercars legend Mark Skaife as well as NASCAR chief operating officer George Pyne

What we know

With many insiders already touting them as frontrunners, the Mark Skaife and Craig Kelly-led TLA deal has progressed to the second stage of bidding, and in some eyes, to the front of the bidding war-pack.

Between Skaife’s pedigree and know-how and the abundant resources that come with talent-stacked TLA Worldwide deep pockets, the pair make an almighty force. Craig Kelly is the ex-Collingwood footballer turned highly influential founder of TGI Sport and it’s marketing arm TLA worldwide. You may remember Skaife and Kelly’s role in successfully rebuilding the HRT business after the fallout of the Tom Walkinshaw Racing collapse. It was a respected partnership that could have widespread approval from the V8 and Supercar community.

This has many believing that the Supercars teams (who want to retain their 35 percent shareholding in the series) will support a TLA buyout, due in part to their respect for the decision making shown by the Skaife/Kelly combo at HRT and their general ‘good guy’ reputation.

Funnily enough, Kelly’s TLA Worldwide also has interests in the NRL. Is a rugby league, Supercars duet written in the stars? Considering the proven negotiating power of Skaife and Kelly… maybe?

What would a Skaife/TLA Worldwide buyout mean for Supercars culture?

When talking about a Skaife buyout it’s important to mention another link to the crew who could potentially have a big impact on Supercars culture if they’re successful in their bid. Former NASCAR chief operating officer George Pyne recently acquired TGI Sport, bringing with him unparalleled experience in creating huge, successful American broadcast deals.

Could Pyne’s big business NASCAR influence see Supercars wheeling and dealing the type of  sponsorship and media deals that could take Australian motorsport to a broader global audience, assert their dominance and embrace a ‘bigger is better’ American mindset?

If paddock chatter is anything to go by this could be a huge win for Supercars, especially if balanced with the competitive attitudes of Skaife and Kelly who will ensure the essence of Aussie larrikinism lives on in Supercars culture.

Not everyone is convinced. Adderton and co are conducting a not so subtle PR campaign against Pyne, accusing him of using Skaife as a figurehead to trick Aussies into placing “the greatest race in Australia” into American hands.

What are the chances?

Pretty good. While none of us know what’s happening behind closed doors, there’s so much chatter in the air about Skaife taking the reins, it’s hard to ignore the likelihood. We give this gung ho group a big fence-sitting— 40%.


Australian Racing Group (already own the S5000, TCR Australia and Trans Am)

Despite an earlier offer rejection, the Australian Racing Group (ARG) is still in the hunt, and a top three key contender to buy out Archer Capital’s Supercars share. ARG already counts Touring Car Racing, Touring Car Masters,  S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship, GT World Challenge Australia and the National Trans Am Series as part of their lucrative portfolio.

There’s already plenty of alignment between Supercars and ARG that can make for a smooth transition. They already share the same free-to-air broadcast partner in the Seven Network and have plenty of crossover driver talent, such as Chaz Mostert and Garth Tander who’ve made a name for themselves in both Supercars and TCR/GTWC.

Of course we have to mention TRG’s presence at Bathurst. They’re already running the Bathurst 6 hour and Bathurst International, making an almighty argument for bringing the events together into a nice package that could benefit fans and drivers alike. If ARG gets Supercars it then controls four of the five accredited events at Bathurst.

Where ARG is at with their bid is hard to say, but insiders are calling them an ‘outside hope’ at this stage.

What would an Australian Racing Group buyout mean for Supercars culture?

In some ways, an ARG buyout will mean they control all the major motorsport categories in Australia which could have a calming effect on what could be called a rocky period for the brand as things currently stand. We know that TCR and TCM are remaining relevant, even thriving, under their leadership, with the latter being voted the public’s favourite event after the Bathurst 1000. Their approach to pricing and pit access for fans is a huge bonus in keeping the culture alive and accessible.

Could an ARG buyout see Supercars racing in other categories? There’s certainly the possibility for mega events (in a post-COVID landscape) that see a number of top categories come together under the one ticket, a big coup for attracting sponsors and exposure.

The possibility of watching two or more premier categories at the same race meeting? We love to see it.

What are the chances?

Talking to Supercars fans, there’s a lot of excitement and chatter over this one. The possibility of TRG and Supercars running together under the one ticket is like pairing the ‘Stones’ and the ‘Beatles’ on your music festival bill. It just makes a lot of sense to see the different categories work together to bring fractured events into a full program and breathe new life into what are already the pinnacle events of Australian motorsport.

However, many are calling the TRG buyout an ‘outside chance’. Without the buying power of the other two key bidders, Archer Capital could overlook any potential benefits to the sport in seeking to maximise their return. Being aligned and involved in motorsport, we rate their chances better than how the commentators are calling it right now — 35%.

Mystery international bidder

There’s talk of a fourth —mysterious— international bidder who’s made the final cut. Honestly, no one really knows but it’s likely a player like IMG Motorsport or World Sport. What could this mean for the Supercars? Your guess is as good as anyone’s.

Who do you think will be the best Supercars owner?

With Archer Capital looking to finalise a deal in September, stay tuned for some potentially huge announcements over the next month. It’s safe to say that a Supercars ownership shakeup is a good thing. How that’s going to look and whether new leadership will have the foresight and acumen to make decisions that benefit the fans and grow our sport, rather than just line their back pocket is something that only time will tell.

Skaife, Broncos, ARG? Who do you think will be the best Supercars owner? Let us know what you think on FB or Twitter!

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