When you watch them you will be left mesmerized. Here is a young boy on an island, probably miles from home with a set of goggles over his eyes. In his hands are some awesome-looking controls whose fingers are so busy twitching. Observe keenly and you will see his varying reactions to the scratchy drone video beaming directly into his eyes.
But he is not all alone here. Turn around and behind safety netting you will see a small audience peacefully sipping their beer as they watch the devices fly up high. Some just watch with their naked eyes, others have a pair of orange goggles, with which they can use to toggle between feeds from the drones’ onboard cameras.
It is a competition, the young man is in struggle to ensure he takes home the $50,000 grand prize, but his competitors wouldn’t have any of that. At the end of the game, the well prepared will carry the day and just like pilots spend years to prepare, they are not spared either.
One such competitor is Ken Loo who spoke to ABC News. He said that over the years he has travelled from place to place to watch drone racing. His interest in the game was basic as he began by just competing friends at a local park.
A sport taking off too fast
Without doubt the sport has taken off too fast – faster than any one person could have estimated.
This rapid uptake in the latest addition in the sport arena is hugely attributed to social media, as explained by Daniel Pifko, the chief operation officer of the championship-hosting Drone Sports Association (DSA).
Recording the game is much easier. When the video is ready, it is taken up on YouTube, adding more members to its fan base.
In addition, the game has attracted bigger broadcasters, ESPN being one of them that recently broadcasted a weekend competition.
Pifko said that ESPN’s broadcast legitimizes the developing sport, “it has to make you consider whether there’s something more to it.”
Then there is also the idea of international brands seeing this as a great advertisement opportunity. Major brands like GoPro, AIG and Ernst and Young have emerged as top sponsors for the sport.
Their sole target is to create an entire sport, fully surrounded and recognized by the entire industry.