Bell today announced it has agreed to acquire the operations of Montréal’s Octane Racing Group Inc., promoter of the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix, the largest annual sports and tourism event in the country.
After the cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 Grand Prix events in Montréal due to COVID-19, Bell’s investment brings the financial stability and enhanced investment needed to ensure the long-term growth of the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix. With the event now secured in Montréal through 2031, today’s announcement unlocks a wide range of enhanced commercial opportunities for both Bell and F1.
Bell will ensure that tickets sold for the 2020 race are valid for the 2022 Canadian Grand Prix or ticket holders will be refunded if they prefer that option. A number of 2020 ticket holders had already chosen to transfer their tickets to the canceled 2021 event, and that option is now available to them for the 2022 race (tickets had not yet been sold for the 2021 event).
“A world-renowned event that promotes Montréal at an international level, the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix is hugely popular in Québec and throughout Canada. This transaction confirms Bell’s commitment to deliver the most compelling content across every platform while increasing our presence in the Québec media marketplace through significant investments in culture, sports and entertainment,” said Karine Moses, Bell’s Vice Chair, Québec. “As a Montréal-based company and Canada’s top sports content provider, Bell can’t wait to see the Grand Prix back in 2022. We welcome the Octane Racing Group team, and look forward to amplifying this iconic Montréal event over the long term with Bell’s leading network, broadcasting and digital assets.”
Bell Media sports networks TSN and RDS have been Formula 1 partners for decades, and last year announced the extension of Formula 1 World Championship broadcast rights in Canada until 2024. Octane Racing Group will continue to run as a standalone entity within the Bell group of companies to promote the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix. Octane President and CEO François Dumontier and all Octane employees join Bell effective today.
“The Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix is the biggest sporting and touristic event in the country, and it seemed only natural for us to join forces with Bell to help elevate the event to its fullest potential,” said François Dumontier. “With Bell’s assets and commitment to develop the event, the future of Montréal’s leg of the Formula 1 World Championship just got better. I am thankful to have the opportunity to continue to follow my passion with Formula 1 and to be able to develop new opportunities for the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix with the support of a company so well established in Québec and across Canada.”
“Canada is a race that holds a special place in the F1 calendar and is exciting for our fans and the drivers and we are delighted by our 2-year extension to 2031,” said Stefano Domenicalli, President and CEO of Formula 1. “The news today of Bell’s investment is very positive and will ensure the long term growth of the Grand Prix which will benefit the sport and the city of Montréal alongside the great work that François and his team are delivering and will continue to deliver.”
“The Canadian Grand Prix is a flagship event that makes a remarkable contribution to the vitality of tourism and to the influence of Montréal and all of Québec,” said Caroline Proulx, Québec’s Minister of Tourism. “I am delighted with the arrival of a new major private partner like Bell, which, in addition to preserving the expertise acquired over the years, contributes to the long-term sustainability and growth of this event that generates major economic benefits. With the announcement of the extension of the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix in Montréal earlier this week, today’s transaction sends another positive signal to the tourism industry, a sector whose importance and role in our full economic recovery our government recognizes.”
Environmental protection is an integral and longstanding element of Bell’s business. Corporate responsibility and sustainability are also core values for the Formula 1 Group, with a goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.
About Octane Racing Group
A Montréal-based Canadian company, Octane Racing Group Inc. is the promoter of FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX DU CANADA through an agreement made with Formula One Administration Limited and Formula 1 World Championship Limited (which, together, hold the commercial rights to F1).
The Bell team builds world-leading broadband wireless and fibre networks, provides innovative mobile, TV, Internet and business communications services and delivers the most compelling content with premier television, radio, out of home and digital media brands. With a goal to advance how Canadians connect with each other and the world, Bell serves more than 22 million consumer and business customer connections across every province and territory. Founded in Montréal in 1880, Bell is wholly owned by BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE). To learn more, please visit Bell.ca or BCE.ca.