It’s looking like Drone Racing is going to hit the big time this summer.
When Luke Bannister, a 15-year-old boy from England won the first edition of Dubai’s World Drone Prix and pocketed $250,000 last month, nobody could ever imagine that this trendy sport would be coming to ESPN this sooner. Thanks to the sport’s unprecedented popularity and ESPN’s belief that it’s the next NASCAR, the network will start airing competitive drone racing this coming August.
In making the announcement this week of its partnership deal with the International Drone Racing Association (IDRA), ESPN projected that they are hopeful of tapping into the sport’s small, but massively growing fan base. “Drone racing is presently witnessing unparalleled rise in popularity and is well set to become the next big racing sport alongside Formula 1 and NASCAR,” the network company said.
The first event to be televised on ESPN will be the 2016 National Drone Championships. It will take place on Governors Island in New York City from 5th to 7th August. ESPN sees huge potential in this immersive sport and will, for the first time, allow viewers to follow live actions on television screens.
Even though this deal still doesn’t give drone racing the prestige of either NASCAR or Formula 1, it’s a clear indication that it’s gaining ground as the newest competitive sport. On their part, IDRA hopes that this partnership with ESPN will aid drone racing in becoming a preeminent global sport.
“To go from the first ever national drone race in the US to partnering with ESPN in a couple of months is a pure sign of great things ahead in terms of developing the sport,” that’s according to the chairman of IDRA, Dr. Scot Refsland.
Now, for those who ever doubted that drone racing was a real sport – that flying robots through dazzling neon gates is in the same league as highly muscled athletes who actually sweat, and that it’s more than just a web-driven sports- this is a confirmation that it will be on your screens in a few months time.