US – Soft drinks brand Mountain Dew has become one of the first big sponsors of drone racing.
The race, which will include 12 of the best pilots in the world, will be broadcast on Discovery Channel and Science Channel. The burgeoning sport aims to cash in on the growth of eSports, seen in documentary All Work All Play, which charts the rise of competitive computer gaming.
As well as using drones in the latest instalment of its Do the Dew global marketing campaign by agency BBDO, Mountain Dew is sponsoring its own racer in the DR1 league. Tom ‘Ummagawd’ Tibajia is the first drone pilot to sign a sponsorship with a brand, although surely not the last.
The sport is also growing outside of the US. In April, England’s national stadium in Wembley hosted its first drone racing event in partnership with network provider EE. ‘This event is the first of this kind of scale in the UK,’ said Luke Bannister, who at 15 years old, won first prize at the World Drone Grand Prix in Dubai in March.
What is accepted as sport is changing. Find out more about the explosion of eSports in our Video Games Market report.