After kicking off its season last Wednesday, the Drone Racing League has struck a five-year partnership with Genius Sports as a first step in getting approved for legal gambling in regulated territories around the world. The data and technology company has advised other organizations including the NBA, NASCAR and the English Premier League.
“Over the next several weeks, you will see us racing as fast as our drones to get DRL approved for betting and secure partnerships with the top sports betting operators…. This is a huge step forward for the league to drive more awareness for DRL and engagement with fans,” DRL President Rachel Jacobson said in an interview. “They’ll build a high-end live betting product that ensures the transparency, accuracy and security of all wagers.”
Jacobson joined the DRL in April and has focused on helping the league, which was founded in 2015, complete its goal of being legalized in sports betting. Their hope is that the partnership will bring a new audience to the sport. DRL’s following is already unique—over 70% of its fans do not follow the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL or English Premier League, the brand said. Additionally, nearly 90% of its fans are more likely to be interested in sports betting in comparison to the average global sports fan.
Outside of getting into sports betting, the DRL has been holding virtual competitions throughout the year. In May, the DRL held a tournament where pilots committed to donating their winnings to Direct Relief, a charity that has provided protective gear and medical essentials to health facilities in response to COVID-19.
The Drone Racing League hand-develops its drones in New York City. Each drone, which can cost more than $2000, can travel 90 miles per hour and features over 1,000 LED lights that match a racer’s uniform. The league finds its pilots through a combination of amateur competitions and its virtual reality video game.
The twelve pilots travel around the world to fly the drones in venues like football stadiums and abandoned malls to compete in 14 different races that determine a champion. Prizes have been as much as $100,000.
The next two levels of the 2020 DRL Allianz World Championship Season will be on NCSN, Twitter and Facebook tonight at 7 p.m. Eastern.
“Thanks to our partnership with Genius Sports we will be able to provide up-to-the-second odds with transparency, accuracy and security, as well as a suite of wagers and prop bets,” said Jacobson.
(This story has corrected the price of individual drones to more than $2000, and not $500 to $1,000, in the fifth paragraph.)