Drone racing's rise to prominence is hardly a surprise. The sport combines a new, rapidly improving technology with skilful pilots and bombastic, three-dimensional courses. If you've ever watched a heat, either in person or online, you'll know it's an exhilarating spectacle. With this in mind, it's no bombshell to hear that Sky has made an investment in the Drone Racing League (DRL), a professional outfit backed by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross. As part of its $1 million cash injection, Sky will be showing the entire tournament on its new Sky Sports Mix channel in the UK.
The DRL season consists of four "level" races and a winner takes all World Championship. Pilots earn points throughout the year in the hope of qualifying for the final race, which will take place in a yet to be revealed location. Each contestant has an identical drone, which is hand built and "custom designed" for the tournament. In short, the DRL is a test of the pilots' abilities, rather than their construction skills. They monitor and control their lightweight quadcopter from a first-person perspective, using a VR-style headset and onboard camera. The same feed is, unsurprisingly, what makes the sport so fascinating to watch both online and on TV.
Sky is planning 10, one-hour episodes for the current season, starting next month. The broadcaster will also be working with London & Partners to bring an official DRL race -- the "first professional drone race in the UK," it claims -- to the capital. If you think you've got what it takes to compete, best start practising those flips and barrel rolls in your local park.