Launched in 2016, Drone Racing League features pilots who maneuver professional drones through courses at speeds of 90 mph or more. The sport’s focus on technology and reaching a younger audience could get a boost with a cryptocurrency-related partnership announced this week.
About Drone Racing League: Drone Racing League is redefining 21st-century sports, league president Rachel Jacobson told Benzinga.
“The Drone Racing League is the world’s premier professional drone racing league property,” Jacobson said.
The company also has a partnership with T-Mobile US Inc TMUS that launched a 5G drone at the "Field of Dreams" baseball game earlier this year.
The Drone Racing League game has brought new fans to the sport and Jacobson has seen downloads of the game rise 300% in the past couple of years with inclusion on Epic Games and Sony Group Corp’s SONY Playstation Network.
Drone Racing League has raised money in several rounds and counts a “diverse group of investors” that include RSE Ventures, Lux Capital, Liberty Media and World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. WWE.
RSE Ventures co-founder and CEO Matt Higgins has invested in each funding round the Drone Racing League has had and is the largest shareholder in the league.
“I think drone racing is the perfect time to straddle the metaverse and universe,” said Higgins, who is also the CEO of Omnichannel Acquisition Corp OCA.
Algorand Partnership: The Drone Racing League announced a partnership this week with Algorand ALGO/USD, a decentralized blockchain-based network.
Jacobson praised the partnership citing the “perfect marriage” between the Drone Racing League and Algorand thanks to the league’s younger, tech-savvy fans.
No financial terms of the five-year partnership were disclosed but Jacobson called the deal “one of the largest partnerships in our history.”
One item that will happen thanks to the Algorand partnership is the introduction of non-fungible tokens for the league.
“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,” Jacobson said.
Jacobson added that more announcements will come soon about how the league will use Algorand with plans for virtual racing leagues and metaverse adoption among ideas discussed.
Higgins is a big believer in cryptocurrency and was an early investor in Coinbase Global Inc COIN.
“Algo in my opinion is going to be a winner,” Higgins said.
Higgins compared signing the partnership with Algorand to technology companies landing a deal with Intel Corporation INTC.
“We just got one of the companies that are fueling the revolution.”
Higgins said Algorand could potentially overtake Ethereum ETH/USD as the blockchain choice.
Higgins sees the introduction of blockchain and NFTs to Drone League as increasing the gamification and visual aspect of the sport.
Media Push: Millions of fans around the world tune in to watch Drone Racing League thanks to content deals with Twitter Inc TWTR and NBC Sports, a unit of Comcast Corporation CMCSA.
The Drone Racing League will have an expanded presence in primetime coverage including replacing the NHL Wednesday night slot on NBC Sports Network.
The league will put out more than 30 hours of primetime live coverage on Christmas Day and lead-ins from the Winter Olympics from Comcast.
Jacobson teased that the league will release news about an international media partnership in the future.
The league is slated to kick off the 2021-2022 season on Sept. 29.
“We’re utilizing a full arsenal of assets to ensure that everyone knows how to watch Drone Racing,” Jacobson said.
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