The Drone Racing League (DRL) today announced a multi-year partnership with insurance brand Allianz, which includes a new 2017 championship race called the Allianz World Championship series.
The race will consists of six elimination-style, FPV (first person view races) with 16 pilots, airing in more than 75 countries in June 2017.
The pilots in the race will fly through race courses around the U.S. and Europe using DRL’s custom-designed racing drones, which can fly at up to 90 mph. The courses will be located in Miami, New Orleans, Atlanta, Boston, Munich and London.
“To DRL, Allianz is bringing world-renowned brand credibility and a proud history of innovative sports partnerships, including an extensive tradition in auto racing, and an undeniable proof point that the sport of the future has arrived,” said DRL CEO and Founder, Nicholas Horbaczewski in a news release. “The scale and long-term nature of the deal shows Allianz’s genuine commitment to advancing the sport and will accelerate the introduction of drone racing to audiences around the world.”
It may seem like an odd partnership to match an insurance company with a drone racing company, but Allianz has a history of similar (though non-drone related) partnerships, including the Saracens rugby club and Lang Lang, one of my favorite pianists (One of Drone Girl’s other hobbies is playing piano!).
The partnership with Allianz also means races will be held at official Allianz venues, including Allianz branded stadiums and corporate facilities. It also means broadcast time, as the Allianz World Championship will air as 12 hour-long episodes.
The Allianz partnership is yet another in a series of major corporations trying to get involved in the growing sport of drone racing. PepsiCo’s Mountain Dew was the title sponsor in an August 2016 race by drone racing company DR1.
DR1 and DRL are the two major national drone racing companies, while there are also a few smaller, local leagues. DR1 has also announced sponsorships with Doritos, Amp Energy, Air Hogs and Buffalo Wild Wings, while DRL has also announced partnerships with Bud Light and Nikko Air.
The Drone Racing League, which launched in 2015, perhaps most famously was responsible for making Drone Nationals happen, which aired on ESPN. DRL also announced in January that it secured more than $8 million in funding including investment from RSE Ventures, the venture-capital firm run by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross.
Want to get involved in drone racing yourself? Check out my guide to getting started with your own racing drone.