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ESPN will start showing drone races in August

Coming to a sky near you.


AJ Dellinger


Posted on Apr 14, 2016   Updated on May 26, 2021, 10:50 pm CDT

The next time you tune into SportsCenter, you might get caught up in watching highlights from the latest drone race. The International Drone Racing Association and ESPN have agreed to a multi-year deal to broadcast drone flying competitions.

The first events to get the ESPN treatment will be the U.S. National Drone Racing Championships in New York City from August 5-7 and the inaugural World Drone Racing Championships in Hawaii from October 17-22.

ESPN3, the sports network’s online streaming service, will show the races. Highlights and condensed specials will air later on ESPN’s flagship TV channel.

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The races put pilots in the cockpits of the otherwise unmanned vehicles by requiring them to control the drones’ flight through a pair of goggles that receive a live video feed from a drone-mounted camera. Viewers will be able to watch the races in broadcast form or, by using their own viewing goggles, through the same perspective that the pilots see.

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

The competition is undoubtedly becoming more popular. Last month, the World Drone Prix in Dubai offered $1 million in prizes to racers from around the world, including a 15-year-old who took home the top prize of $250,000.

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*First Published: Apr 14, 2016, 3:36 pm CDT