It’s the second annual Drone Nationals this weekend in New York City, and it’s shaping up to be America’s largest drone race yet, especially given the fact that they have snagged a spot on ESPN.
ESPN3 will air the race on Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern time—the first time America’s largest sports network will cover the sport.
It’s called the 2016 U.S. National Drone Racing Championships, and this weekend, 100 pilots will gather to race at speeds of more than 60 miles an hour.
This past year, drone racing has hugely expanded. The Drone Racing League in January said it secured more than $8 million in funding, including investment from RSE Ventures, the venture-capital firm run by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross. Another league, the Aerial Sports League, is going to open a full-scale, drone racing entertainment complex in San Francisco this month. Also this month, a racing series called DR1 will be the first drone race to stream on popular social gaming platform Twitch. It’s sponsored by Mountain Dew.
And now, ESPN will air a race live, with sponsors ranging from the obvious (GoPro) to the less obvious (Ernst & Young, and AIG). It means drone racing could be a big business.
I took an in-depth look at the business of drone racing and wrote it up on MarketWatch.com. It includes interviews from drone racer Zoe Stumbaugh, chief executive of Drone Sports Association Sahand Barati, and more. Will drone racers make money? Will all these racing leagues survive? Check it out!