The Drone Racing League Is Coming to ESPN this Fall (Videos)


ESPN announced on Wednesday that it has reached an agreement to broadcast the first full season of the Drone Racing League.

The season will consist 10 one-hour episodes. The first, an introduction to drone racing, airs Thursday at 11 p.m. on ESPN2. The competition will then kick off on October 23. ESPN2 will broadcast the episodes on Thursday and Saturday nights. ESPN will show the two-hour finale on November 20.

So what the hell is the drone racing? Exactly what it sounds like. Drones piloted by humans race through obstacle-filled race courses at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour. Cameras mounted on the drones give the pilots a cockpit-like view in their virtual reality goggles as they steer with remote controls.

“It’s an exciting, real-life experience mixed with video-gamelike dynamics,” says Nicholas Horbaczewski, the chief executive and founder of the league. “These races are short sprints. It has that thrill of a 100-meter dash or horse racing.”

Each pilot will use an identical quad-copter drone, stripped down and measured down to the ounce, outfitted with neon LED lights. As for the courses, they have been constructed in some pretty unique places, including an abandoned mall in Los Angeles, a laboratory in New York, an auto plant in Detroit, and Dolphin Stadium in Miami.

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Not coincidentally, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert just so happen to be two of the Drone Racing League’s biggest backers.

The episodes will all be pre-recorded and edited, and it’s expected they will focus on turning the 25 pilots into characters you can root for. So in that sense ESPN’s DRL coverage will resemble reality television more than sports television.

“Coverage of DRL lets us merge storytelling, technology and competition into compelling weekly content that we believe will appeal to a growing audience,” says Matthew Volk, ESPN’s director of programming and aquisitions.

Who doesn’t love compelling weekly content?

Hat Tip – [ESPN, New York Times]

Tags: drone racing, Drone Racing League, drones, espn,