It’s a common sight around the world to see drone pilots huddling around their screens and not lifting their eyes off of them. That can mean only one thing – drone racing games. Drone racing has grown so much that now it has its very own leagues. One of the biggest ones is the Drone Racing League (DRL). Taking place across 14 locations, a dozen of the world’s most skilled drone operators (and drone racers, for that matter) race against one another for the biggest title in the world of drone racing and win the DRL World Championship. This exciting sport has a horde of fans that grows constantly. Even dubbed as the sport of the future, drone racing indeed is preparing and adapting to the future. The latest efforts include the way drone racing embraces crypto technology.
But, I may be getting a bit ahead of myself. Before we talk about how blockchain and crypto have found their way into drone racing, we’ll recap DRL’s latest achievements.
About the Drone Racing League (DRL)
Two drone enthusiasts – Nicholas Horbaczewski and Ryan Gury – are standing in an abandoned parking lot behind a Home Depot in Long Island, New York. They are amazed by the scene playing out in front of them. Cool people with first-person-view goggles and RC controllers are flying their drones at a swift speed. That was how the DRL was born.
Founded in 2015 and with an inaugural season a year later, DRL provides a platform for drone pilots to race themselves. They maneuver professional and often custom-built drones equipped with around a thousand LED lights through various courses. The speed at which they fly their drones is 90 mph (around 145 km/h) or more.
The races take place in grandiose locations – from shopping malls to museums and sports stadiums all over the world. At the event, spectators can watch the race live or through FPV goggles that allow you to view through the drone racer’s eyes. These events are often streamed on TV and online.
In its latest season, DRL has racked up its average viewership by around 200%. Also, it has seen a rise in its fanbase by 60% on social media channels as well as increased virtual participation in drone racing by 90%. Furthermore, people’s interest in drone racing has grown thanks to the launch of DRL’s drone simulator. With it, fans can learn how to drone race and enjoy this booming sport.
A ‘Perfect Match’: This is How Drone Racing Embraces Crypto Technology
Actually, DRL is no stranger to partnerships and sponsorships. Starting from Bud Light to worldwide-famous sports networks that include Sky Sports, ESPN, and ProSieben, then, Allianz, BMW, and more.
Now the league for drone racing league embraces crypto big time. So, what makes the newest partnership with Algorand special? This is the first time DRL (and drone racing for that matter) delves into crypto.
DRL will leverage Algorand’s technology to create immersive in-game experiences and introduce millions of technology enthusiasts to the possibilities that blockchain can bring to racing and to sports as we know them today.
Steve Kokinos, CEO of Algorand
Moreover, DRL’s president Rachael Jacobson praised the deal with Algorand as a perfect marriage between the league and the crypto company which will entice young, crypto fans from all over the world. Besides that, this is one of the biggest partnerships in the league’s history. While specific numbers haven’t been public, some rumors report a hundred-million-dollar deal.
If the name Algorand leaves you scratching your head, no worries. Algorand represents a blockchain-based network where developers can create new applications supported by cryptocurrency. Since it’s a part of the crypto world, it’s decentralized. Also, the ALGO crypto is becoming very popular, and some even predict that it can match Ethereum.
So, what does this deal entail? Thanks to Algorand’s blockchain, DRL will release blockchain-enabled tickets, collectibles and merch, fan transactions, and more. Moreover, a Digital Drone Racing series built into this blockchain network is in development.
Another proof that drone racing embraces crypto in all of its forms is the introduction of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in the Drone Racing League thanks to this partnership.
Think of next-level NFTs for ticketing and collectibles and fan tokens that are really going to give fans a voice in the evolution of the league.
Rachael Jacobson, president of the Drone Racing League
With this move, the league tries to bring the eyes of more crypto developers and programmers to DRL and include them in hackathon events during races.
The fact that drone racing embraces crypto is proven with the new pilot – Mannyh!msf. He is the league’s thirteenth pilot and embodies the values of Algorand and the blockchain network, which is a partner of the league.
Nurturing Innovation and Embracing Technology
As one of the pioneering sports in the new sports category robotic sport (rSport), the objective of drone racing is developing and advancing tech. True, each season of the DRL encompasses something new and a new piece of tech is being used. Whether it’s a new bed, a mobile game, or something else, innovation is always there.
Further, DRL together with Draganfly will launch DRL Labs. So, besides the notion that the league for drone racing embraces crypto and blockchain, it embraces research and development of next-generation drone tech. Through this project, the two entities will focus on new drone solutions in the fields of autonomy, AI, and similar technological advancements. All of that will be aimed at bettering other industries, as well as, disaster relief, delivery, logistics, and more.
Even before the start of the pandemic, people loved watching professional drone pilots wear FPV goggles as incredibly fast drones whizzed in the air to beat each other.
Then, the pandemic happened and people had no sports to watch. Luckily, drone racing was here. Some report that the viewing during the lockdown in China increased by 70%.
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