Cross Formula One with competitive video gaming, and what do you get?
Probably something a lot like this:
Drones racing down elaborate courses including abandoned malls, NFL stadiums and subway tunnels at speeds greater than 80 miles an hour, controlled from afar by pilots wearing “first-person view” goggles that show a live video feed from the drone’s “cockpit.” All of which plays out in a highly-produced broadcast reminiscent of the live streams and YouTube videos that have made electronic sports what they are today — boasting a huge international fan base that rivals the traditional (real-life) sports leagues in size.
This Formula One / eSports mashup is being brought to life by a company called The Drone Racing League, which officially launched today. Its first drone race is set to broadcast to YouTube in February.
The league has more than $8 million in funding, said DRL founder and CEO Nicholas Horbaczewski, including investment from Miami Dolphin’s owner Stephen Ross’s venture-capital firm RSE Ventures. Other investors include Hearst Ventures, CAA Ventures and Muse lead singer Matthew Bellamy, according to a Jan. 21 SEC filing.