Because the successor to Red Bull boss Dietrich (Didi) Mateschitz also decides the future of RB Lepizig, ServusTV and the Red Bull Formula 1 team, the 78-year-old has prepared his son Mark for the task. Whether he can take over the office is open – and with it the future of sports and media companies.

Since the media and the public have been speculating about the state of health of Red Bull founder Didi Mateschitz, Red Bull partners such as RB Leipzig and the Formula 1 team as well as Red Bull subsidiaries such as ServusTV have faced an uncertain future. The personnel therefore also moves fans of football, ice hockey and extreme sports.

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The Mateschitz successor could change the sports and media landscape because Red Bull is to a large extent an advertising company: The Austrians have their drinks filled by other companies, collect fees and concentrate on marketing.

Mateschitz has built an empire with this marketing: media companies such as Servus TV, all kinds of extreme sports events and teams in football, ice hockey and racing – from Bundesliga club RB Leipzig to wingsuit athletes in advertising videos, Red Bull enables many people to make a living by buying more energy drinks to sell. If Mateschitz deletes some or Red Bull is completely reorganized, it could herald the end for RB Leipzig, the Red Bull Formula 1 team or Servus TV in its current form.

Sports teams and subsidiaries are not investments that bring money for Red Bull. They are advertising media that mostly cause losses. This is common for advertising media. However, there is no alternative to any of these investments.

Many Red Bull marketing measures were or are also controversial. Football fans condemn RB Leipzig as a commercial club, several extreme athletes died while shooting Red Bull videos, Servus TV was accused of right-wing populist reporting. According to environmental activists, Formula 1 is also outdated.

Because Mateschitz’s successor could use the Austrian advertising billions differently, everyone who depends on them faces an uncertain future.

The media are currently treating Mateschitz’ only son Mark as the most likely successor. Because the billionaire protected his private life, the public knows little about his son. Mark is said to have been born in 1993 and came from a two-year relationship with the then ski instructor Anita Gerhardter. He is said to have grown up with his mother and studied economics. It is not known what he thinks about his father’s involvement in sports and television, since Mark Mateschitz has rarely appeared in public.

Didi Mateschitz is said to have prepared his son for the successor. Mark Mateschitz has turned Thalheimer beer, brewed from medicinal water, into a popular, hip brand. He is head of Mark-Mateschitz-Beteiligungs-GmbH, which holds shares in the Red Bull real estate empire, and since the beginning of this year has been on the board of the non-profit foundation Wings for Life, which promotes research into healing paraplegic patients.

So Mark Mateschitz has experience. However, it is unclear whether he can become the new Red Bull boss.

Even if Didi Mateschitz apparently prepared his son for his successor, the decision about the personnel is not up to him: father Mateschütz owns 49 percent of the Red Bull shares. Another 49 percent belongs to a company owned by the Thai family Yoovidhya, whose Mateschitz bought the international marketing rights for the energy drink Krating Daeng (“Red Bull”) in 1984. This provided the Red Bull template. Chalerm Yoovidhya holds another two percent alone.

This means that the majority (51 percent) of the company belongs to the Yoovidhyas. You have the decisive word with the Mateschitz successor. According to a report by Manager Magazin, the Yoovidhya family even has to agree to the transfer of Mateschitz’ company shares to his son under the Red Bull articles of association.

How the Yoovidhyas feel about young Mateschitz as their successor is also unclear. According to several media reports, they definitely want to curtail the power of the Red Bull boss after Didi Mateschütz.

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So far, Red Bull and RB Leipzig have not yet commented on Didi Mateschitz. Red Bull declined to comment, RB Leipzig has so far left a request unanswered. If this changes, we will report it here.

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