John Malone’s Liberty Media Corp. (Nasdaq: LMCA) wants to revive global interest in Formula One auto racing by building its underdeveloped digital presence and expanding in markets like the U.S., while retaining loyal followers in the circuit’s European stronghold.

Liberty, which agreed to buy the company that controls the dominant international racing series from private equity firm CVC Capital Partners Ltd. for $4.4 billion, faces a challenge: Formula One’s global audience fell to 400 million last year from 600 million in 2008. Though television rights fees have grown as Formula One has shifted to pay TV from free broadcasts in some markets, sponsorship revenue has stagnated.

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