Drone Racing League’s Level 1 ‘Miami Lights’ and Level 2 ‘L.A.Pocalypse’ have now aired on ESPN 2 for US viewers, Sky Sports Mix for the UK and Germany’s ProSieben Maxx.
Held at the Miami Dolphins stadium Miami Lights was the first of five race ‘levels’ to be broadcast on these channels, with each taking place in a different US city.
Next up was LA; the ‘L.A.POCALYPSE’, which was described as ‘an abandoned venue – a 40-acre relic of 70’s suburban excess. Twenty top drone pilots take over a post-apocalyptic abandoned mall in Los Angeles, racing at 80 mph through artifacts of a bygone era.’
It drew some love on Twitter too with one fan forgoing the World Series to watch..
Screw the #WorldSeries there is Drone Racing on ESPN2!!!
— Jon Spina (@jonspina) October 26, 2016
The Los Angeles course also witnessed one particularly rapid lap from Shaun ‘Nytfury’ Taylor who was racing under pressure having crashed in the first heat. The finals for Level 2 will be on this Sunday at 8pm ET.
Ben Johnson, Drone Racing League Communications Manager, told Third Law Sports: “We believe a lot of FPV pilots are going to be inspired by DRL. The level of competition for our first season is staggering, that there are this many incredible FPV pilots and that the races are so close..it lends itself to more and more skilled pilots wanting to test themselves.
“No one is creating or producing courses like DRL’s, and that allows us to focus on pilot skill and building one of a kind races to push the sport forward. We believe that will attract new pilots from around the world to compete and push the boundaries of FPV racing.”
Discussing the first two episodes in greater detail, Ben said: “The first two episodes were a great start for DRL and an incredibly exciting moment for the sport.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the positive response, and our current focus is on building on that success with the new episodes coming up. Over the next three months, DRL will have more than 45 hours of FPV racing on ESPN and ESPN2 so we will have many opportunities to engage audiences and help create long term fans of the sport.”
The other locales to get the DRL treatment this season will be New York with ‘Project Manhattan’ for Level 3 and Ohio for Level 4 in ‘The Ohio Crash Site’. The season will then culminate in a final championship at a yet to be revealed location.
Speaking to Third Law Sports, Ben also discussed the decision to include extensive storytelling content around the featured pilots. For the LA episode for instance, there was ample footage of both Nytfury, who gave up his full time job as a firefighter to dedicate himself to the sport and Furadi, whose son has been bitten by the FPV bug too.
Ben commented: “As we introduce the sport to a mass audience for the first time we believe its important for everyone to understand the passion, skill and community behind FPV racing. One of the best ways to do this is by helping viewers understand who is flying and why this matters to them.
“The stars of the sport will emerge over the next few years, but our immediate focus is on creating events and innovating technology which allows the skill and personalities of the pilots to come out as they race.”
Action from the Drone Racing League continues Sunday evening with the LA course finals on ESPN2 at 8pm (ET) sharp. Whilst we’re of the opinion there are other organisations out there killing it with their courses too, see MultiGP and Drone Champions League to mention just two, the ones on show at DRL sites so far have certainly looked the part.
Let’s hope this continues in Manhattan and Ohio.