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Live on your tv—coverage of America’s newest racing circuit, the Drone Racing League.

Races took place at four venues this year:

  • Miami’s Sun Life Stadium (home of the Miami Dolphins)
  • The abandoned Hawthorn mall in Los Angeles, which was turned into an “apocalyptic L.A.” set.
  • An abandoned paper mill in Ohio.
  • The former Bell Labs headquarters in New Jersey.

Each course has three-dimensional elements. The pilots avoid obstacles and fly through targets at up to 120 mph, keeping track of their drone through goggles showing a video feed. The competition is fierce. Says Ryan Gury, Director of Product for the DRL: “They say that if you’re not crashing then you’re not flying.”

Unlike traditional racing leagues like NASCAR, where drivers provide and maintain their own vehicles, the 100 drones in the Drone Racing League are designed and maintained by the league itself. Since drivers don’t foot the bill of repairing the drones—and aren’t sitting in them—they’re free to fly with reckless abandon.

Races aren’t shown live, instead, the highlights are packaged into 1-hour shows. The Drone Racing League made its U.S. television debut in October 2016 on ESPN. It’s also being televised by Sky Sports in the U.K.


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