Drone Racing Could Become Next Big Spectator Sport

Across the world – especially at the moment – sports are at the tip of the tongue of most people. We’re just at the peak of the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Shortly before, we had Wimbledon in Tennis, the UEFA European Championships and Copa America in soccer. It’s safe to say that people are talking about sports all the time – but could we be about to see the development of a new sport altogether?

What are known as eSports have begun to explode in recent years; people playing video game competitively. That may be about to take a brand new step with the creation of drone racing. That’s right, we might soon be seeing the Michael Schumacher of drone racing!

The first weekend of August seen the introduction of the second drone racing pilots. With first person viewpoint goggles, they took live video feeds from their drones and flew them hoops and obstacles at around 60mph.

With a $50,000 grand prize at the end of the National Drone Racing Championships, the stakes were pretty high. This has become the signature sporting event for people all around the world with a love and an interest in the world of drone technology. From hackers and crazy kids to entrepreneurs and hobbyists, the sports seems to draw people from most tech backgrounds.

However, given the grand prize already blows away some pretty decent sports already, this might be taking off a whole lot faster than it would have been expected in the first year of racing.

The grand winner of the weekend was Zachry Thayer, who beat 150 other pilots to become the major winner of the top prize. Paul Nurkkala and Chris Wang came second and third, respectively. With over 1,400 pilots taking place in the qualifying until the last 150 stood, this was a well contested event.

A Growing Concern

The event is even drawing some pretty big names, too. from GoPro and AIG sponsoring the races to ESPN streaming it, drone racing has become a major thing – and fast. Drone racing, though, has Greg French to thank. French is behind the FPV goggles, rated by Fat Shark. The goggles allow for easy spotting of what the drone can see, thus making it much easier for everyone to continue moving along with ease.

However, we mentioned $50,000 above – this is just one fifth of what you can win when you head over to the Dubai Championships. People there walked away with a barely credible $250,000!

At the moment, discussions of a full league format are underway. With the Drone Racing League set up by Tough Mudder founder Nicholas Horbaczewski bringing in over $8m hosting races, this is only going to grow larger. Other leagues are going to be forming, too, with the DR1 league likely to be streaming over Twitch.

The Drone Sports Association, then, wants to take this to the next level. With a growing audience, big prize money and lots of contenders waiting, the next biggest sport may have just arrived.

Image Copyright: juliatim / 123RF Stock Photo

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