ESPN has announced a partnership with the International Drone Racing Association (IDRA), in a move that will see several upcoming events streamed on ESPN3, with edited highlights to be featured on one of ESPN’s TV channels.
The multi-year deal is set to start with IDRA’s US National Drone Racing Championships, which is being held in New York City this August. The three-day event will be streamed live on ESPN3, and then footage will be edited down to three one-hour specials to air on one of ESPN’s TV networks.
“Drone racing gives anyone the ability to fly like a superhero,” says Scot Refsland, Chairman of the IDRA. “Because everyone can experience the thrill of racing as if they were sitting in the drone cockpit, the sport is skyrocketing. To go from a first ever, US national drone race to partnering with ESPN for international distribution in eight months is truly a sign of great things ahead.”
“We look forward to providing drone racing fans a larger platform to access this exciting world,” said Matthew Volk, ESPN Director, Programming & Acquisitions. “Drone racing is an opportunity to reach and connect with a growing and passionate audience.”
It’s an exciting time for drone racing enthusiasts. With a number of leagues and governing bodies popping up, it’s a genuine reality that professional drone racers will be on our screens in the very near future. IDRA’s deal with ESPN comes at a time when the profile of the sport is growing rapidly. As recently as a few years ago it barely existed as a concept, yet now it seems to have become the next big thing.
Last month, a 15-year old from the UK led a team to a $250,000 win at the Drone Grand Prix in Dubai, while DRL are leading the way in the US with breathtaking tracks, custom-made drones and revolutionary radio equipment. DRL’s next race, in an abandoned mall in Hollywood, is scheduled for release soon.