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Drone Racing Makes Its Play for Mainstream Coverage With ESPN Deal

The network will live stream events on ESPN3 along with one-hour specials on TV.
Courtesy of IDRA

Send in the drones.

The International Drone Racing Association (IDRA) and ESPN are partnering to bring drone racing to the masses. The sports-media giant announced a multi-year media distribution deal on Thursday to cover drone racing events, starting with the 2016 U.S. National Drone Racing Championships.

The event will take place at Governors Island in New York City and will be broadcast live on ESPN3 from August 5-7. The network will have online streaming coverage of the full competition, and also will broadcast a one-hour special on one of ESPN’s television networks after the event. 

ESPN thinks that it has the potential to be the “the next behemoth racing sport"—that's according to a press release from the network—that could eventually compete with NASCAR. Whether that’s wishful thinking or a wild prediction remains to be seen, but the network is clearly hopeful about the future of the IDRA.

“Drone racing gives anyone the ability to fly like a superhero. Because everyone can experience the thrill of racing as if they were sitting in the drone cockpit, the sport is skyrocketing,” Dr. Scot Refsland, founder and chairman of the IDRA, said in a press release. 

The organization is responsible for putting together all of the biggest drone racing events around the world—including the Drone World Cup, the U.S. National Drone Racing Championships, the World Drone Racing Championships, and the World Drone Prix in Dubai. 

ESPN will also broadcast the 2016 World Drone Racing Championships in October.


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