A New York startup targeted on drone racing has scored a multimillion-dollar sponsorship deal with cryptocurrency platform Algorand, a transfer that shines extra visibility on each the tech-centric sports activities league and the crypto business’s rising position in sports activities advertising.
The deal, announced Tuesday, is value $100 million over the subsequent 5 years, officers with the Drone Racing League confirmed with CBS MoneyWatch. As a part of the deal, the league will launch tickets to racing occasions, so-called (NFT)and different fan collectibles on Algorand. Algorand could have naming rights to the drone league’s championship collection, in keeping with the settlement.
The drone racing deal will “introduce millions of technology enthusiasts to the possibilities that blockchain can bring to racing and to sports as we know them today,” Algorand’s CEO Steve Kokinos mentioned in an announcement.
The marriage between Algorand and drone racing marks the newest instance of matchups between the sporting world and crypto creators. Canadian blockchain company Dapper Labs grew to become the official digital collectible market for the NBA in 2019. Since then, the company has generated greater than $200 million in gross sales, Forbes reported in February. Martial arts league UFC signed Crypto.com as its official NFT platform earlier this year for a reported $175 million.
The Drone Racing League was launched in 2015 by founder Nicholas Horbaczewski, a Harvard graduate and former movie producer.
In drone racing, rivals comply with a NASCAR-like mannequin during which factors are totaled on the finish of a collection of races as a way to crown an general winner. Each drone is outfitted with a special shade of neon coloring in order that viewers can distinguish every racer. Races are streamed dwell on Twitter and broadcast from arenas in St. Paul, Minnesota, Memphis, Tennessee, and elsewhere. The league’s sixth season begins September 29.
In addition to Algorand, the Drone Racing League has different sponsorship offers with T-Mobile and the U.S. Air Force. Earlier this year, the league introduced DraftKings as its official sports activities betting platform.
The drone league additionally has vital monetary backing. It raised $20 million in a funding spherical in 2017 that featured early buyers WWE and Hearst. Touchdown Ventures took the lead in a $26 million funding spherical in 2019. Miami Dolphins proprietor and actual property mogul Stephen Ross was one other early investor within the racing league.
With drone racing, “You don’t have to love stick-and-ball sports and you don’t have to fly drones” to fall in love with the game, the league’s CEO, Rachel Jacobson, mentioned Tuesday. Fans tune in as a result of they’re fascinated by the flowery programs racers should navigate and since they begin to kind a reference to the completely different drone pilots, she mentioned.
The typical drone racing fan usually is not the typical gridiron or hoops fanatic, Jacobson informed CBS MoneyWatch. The league most attracts its viewers from a 16- to 34-year-old crowd that loves tech, particularly robotics and synthetic intelligence, in addition to gaming and units, she mentioned.
Jacobson, a former NBA govt, mentioned 70% of the drone racing viewers doesn’t comply with conventional sports activities, including that “they don’t care about how many touchdown passes Tom Brady has thrown.”