Drone racing just took a huge step into the mainstream with a partnership between ESPN and the International Drone Racing Association (IDRA). The multi-year distribution deal kicks off this August at the 2016 U.S. National Drone Racing Championships in New York.
As part of the deal, every race will stream live on ESPN3, the company’s online service. After each event, ESPN will also air a one-hour special on live network television.
“We look forward to providing drone racing fans a larger platform to access this exciting world,” said Matthew Volk, ESPN’s director of, programming and acquisitions. “Drone racing is an opportunity to reach and connect with a growing and passionate audience.”
IDRA chairman Dr. Scot Refsland added that drone racing has exploded in popularity thanks to the thrill of watching along from a first person perspective. “Drone racing gives anyone the ability to fly like a superhero,” he said. “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.”
If you’ve never seen a drone race, it’s pretty exciting stuff. Each pilot wears a special headset that lets them view the action from the perspective of a front-facing camera attached to their drone. Viewers can watch along through the same feeds, offering a unique experience in the world of sports entertainment.
Check out the video below for a taste of what ESPN will air this summer.