Bud Light to Take DRL into the Big Time
The Drone Racing League has taken another massive step towards market dominance, by signing a lucrative sponsorship deal with American beverage giant, Bud Light. The agreement means that future DRL events will bear the beer’s name, starting with the 2017 Bud Light DRL Tryouts.
The news is seismic for drone racing, which has seen several leagues and organizations jostling for position over the past few years, with DRL steadily gaining support from big-name backers. The fact that Bud Light has thrown its weight behind the DRL now cements the league’s status as the de facto top-level drone racing competition. It also gives fans and interested onlookers a glimpse of how drone racing will find its way among competition from major spectator sports such as NFL, NBA, MLB and the Premier League.
While the specifics of the deal haven’t been announced, it builds on the DRL’s success in attracting big-name sponsors. Just a couple of months ago, British TV network Sky ploughed a million dollars into the league in a deal which will see DRL hit European screens next year. Further backing from RSE Ventures and Courtside Ventures, associated respectively with the Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Cavaliers has added to an estimated $12 million so far received by the league.
As the sport slowly shifts from an amateur to professional focus, the deal is likely to have a major effect on the winner of next year’s DRL Tryouts. FPV drone pilots who impress are likely to be rewarded with life-changing sponsorship deals, as Bud Light catapults the DRL into the public spotlight.
Next years’ Tryouts are open to anyone aged 21 or above, and feature four different courses. The league will reward the winner with a $75,000 pro contract for the 2017 DRL season, in addition to being sponsored by Bud Light.
The top pilots will likely become heroes to new fans of the league, who will also have their own chance to play out their dreams, thanks to a new drone racing sim. Launched by the DRL, the game will allow fans the chance to fly simulated drones around virtual versions of the real DRL courses they see on TV.
DRL CEO Nick Horbaczewski described the deal with Bud Light as “incredibly special”, hinting that the league planned to continue its marketing line of attack through gaming.