If drone fails can spawn their own genre on YouTube, then people who actually know how to fly the aircraft certainly deserve some linear TV air time, too. And now they’re getting it — along with streaming video coverage — thanks to the International Drone Racing Association’s (IDRA) new multi-year, international media distribution deal with ESPN, announced today.
As part of the deal, the IDRA’s 2016 U.S. National Drone Racing Championships in New York City (Aug. 5–7) and the inaugural World Drone Racing Championships in Hawaii (Oct. 17–22) will be streamed live on ESPN3, with highlights subsequently televised as one-hour specials on ESPN’s linear TV network.
In drone racing, contestants pilot the multi-propeller aircraft at high speeds around a race course while by watching live video from a camera mounted on the front of the drone through goggles. Viewers can enjoy a first-person view of the action by watching on their own goggles.
“Drone racing gives anyone the ability to fly like a superhero,” says Dr. Scot Refsland, chairman of the IDRA, in a statement. “Because everyone can experience the thrill of racing as if they were sitting in the drone cockpit, the sport is skyrocketing”
IDRA partner Generate LA will produce the content for ESPN. The events will be executive produced by Peabody and Emmy award-winner David Gavant, who most recently served as VP and executive in charge of production for MLB Productions.