ESPN goes back to the future this fall.
The network that gave America lumberjack races, bowling, and kickboxing in its fledgling years now takes off with an unusual new sport: drone racing. ESPN2 plans to broadcast five events of the Drone Racing League over ten episodes. Sky and 7Sports own broadcast rights abroad.
The Drone Racing League features competitions of six competitors flying identical drones at high speeds through a three-dimensional course. The organizers call it “a real life video game.”
“The hand built drone fleet of more than 300 drones navigates one-of-a-kind courses built through abandoned malls, NFL stadiums, and subway tunnels at speeds in excess of 80 MPH,” explain organizers. “To fly DRL’s unique, three-dimensional courses, pilots control the drone via remote control, wearing goggles that show a live video feed from the drone’s cockpit. Pilots experience an adrenaline rush from the immersive perspective, creating a perfect blend of physical and virtual worlds – a real life video game.”
The schedule features such events as “L.A. Pocalypse,” “The Manhattan Project,” and “The Ohio Crash Site.” The series launches Thursday night at 11 p.m. Eastern. It concludes by crowning a champion drone on November 20.
“Coverage of DRL lets us merge storytelling, technology and competition into compelling weekly content that we believe will appeal to a growing audience,” Matthew Volk, director of programming and acquisitions at ESPN, noted. “We look forward to delivering events and programming to passionate fans of this emerging sport.”