The Drone Racing League is the WWE of FPV

Never before has a segment of the hobby broken out of the RC mold like this. The DRL wants to take FPV racing to the next level.

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The DRL is here!

Jason Koebler on the DRL

Jason Koebler is not only a writer for MotherBoard, he is also an RCGroups user. He has written many articles recently about FPV. Check out his latest about the new Drone Racing League:

DRL 101: What is Drone Racing? | Drone Racing League (2 min 1 sec)

After watching the Drone Racing League’s launch video at the party in Brooklyn last night, the league’s premise reminded me of something, but I wasn’t sure of what.

“You have to start with a vision,” Tony Budding, the league’s director of media, said. “What are the stories? Is it a true sport? Is it entertainment? Are we going WWE, is it NASCAR? Formula 1? There are many ways we can address it.”

DRL 101: What is FPV Flying? | Drone Racing League (1 min 59 sec)

The DRL is an attempt to take the hobby of first person view drone racing—in which pilots strap on video goggles that show a live stream of a front-facing camera on the drone, which can go nearly 100 mph—and turn it into the next big sport. It’s a cross between Star Wars pod racing, Mario Kart, and NASCAR.

Racers have been stripped of their real names and have been given new ones like “Legacy,” “Ummagawd,” and “Kittycopter,” the league will emphasize personality as much as the racing itself, and there’s a glitz and glamor about the whole thing that you won’t find at a DIY racing setup in a park.

DRL: The Sport of the Future | Drone Racing League (1 min 13 sec)

I’m wondering how the drone racing community, which is typically made up of low-key tinkerers, will respond to DRL’s launch.

Budding’s team employs the sorts of camera crews used for NFL games (the first race was at the Dolphins’ Sun Life Stadium in Miami in December), and the races are one-on-one to play up the tension between racers and make it easier to follow. From what I saw last night, the production values are extremely high, the racetracks are exotic, the drones are custom engineered for and owned by the league. The pilots are professionally employed by the league itself (there are no teams, each racer competes individually using DRL-designed drones).

This is a business that is making a very serious go of making drone racing into a verifiable thing, with personalities and drama that the types of people who are into the NFL or the WWE can get into.

It’s fair to wonder if drone pilots will think this is the best way to introduce the sport to the public. So I’m wondering: Will the DRL be “real” enough for the hobby’s diehards? If it’s popular with the masses, will it even matter?

Read More Here

Check out Jason's full article here.

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Jan 26, 2016, 08:31 PM
Registered User
As one of the low-key tinkerers I think they have some interesting course designs.

But I could are less about the overly produced drama aspect.

Head to head racing isn't all that exciting to watch compared to seeing eight vehicles in the air at once and the occasional midair.
Jan 26, 2016, 09:05 PM
DumbThumbsFPV
Deserteagle's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by helno
as one of the low-key tinkerers i think they have some interesting course designs.

but i could are less about the overly produced drama aspect.

head to head racing isn't all that exciting to watch compared to seeing eight vehicles in the air at once and the occasional midair.
++1
Jan 26, 2016, 09:30 PM
Registered User
earlwb's Avatar
Sounds like another scripted reality show to me. The producers build drama and suspense, etc into the events. But the producers decide who wins or loses. Same as professional wrestling. But then for a first, they have maybe the first professional FPV drone racing pilots though. That is something that is sort of a big thing.
Last edited by earlwb; Jan 26, 2016 at 09:34 PM. Reason: add more information
Jan 27, 2016, 12:20 AM
DumbThumbsFPV
Deserteagle's Avatar
it would be cool if it catches on though and would be healthy for the RC community and hobbies.
Jan 27, 2016, 02:23 AM
Registered User
If you ain't first your last!
Jan 27, 2016, 02:48 AM
"Furadi"
Conradm's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Helno
As one of the low-key tinkerers I think they have some interesting course designs.

But I could are less about the overly produced drama aspect.

Head to head racing isn't all that exciting to watch compared to seeing eight vehicles in the air at once and the occasional midair.
Are you a race fan? Nascar, F1, MotoGP ect? I'm a huge MotoGP fan and I can tell you with 100% certainty if my favorite rider were to retire I'd quit watching it.

That's what DRL is trying to is to connect the viewers to the pilots. Because without that interaction it'll never be as big as it can be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by earlwb
Sounds like another scripted reality show to me. The producers build drama and suspense, etc into the events. But the producers decide who wins or loses. Same as professional wrestling. But then for a first, they have maybe the first professional FPV drone racing pilots though. That is something that is sort of a big thing.
Oh, nothing is scripted. We raced, gave pre and post race interviews ect, but none of it was scripted.
Jan 27, 2016, 05:52 AM
Registered User
Proprietary? That won't last long, that removes the biggest driving force behind this hobby all together, innovation and manufacturing. If you wanted to compare this with like Nascar it would be like Ford leaving Nascar and starting their own league.

Reducing cost in say the context of Nascar or any full scale auto racing makes sense by going to one manufacturer and making all the cars the same(spec racing). Even in a context where it makes sense to do that, it don't survive. But this is a context where that paradigm don't even make sense. If the quads costed thousands of dollars to repair and build etc maybe you could make the case for something like this. One of the greatest attributes of multi rotor racing is that it is cheap already.

Organization and rules are great but making all the quads spec racers don't make sense. Sure one or two spec classes for sure, but not all of them... Do they really think they can make this popular with the masses while at the same time alienating the rest of the hobby? Who will fly them? celebrities? lol
Jan 27, 2016, 09:01 AM
Registered User
It looks like big money, the Dolphins owner, and big pilots teamed up to create a series that many of us average pilots cannot relate to. Hopefully it TAKES off and brings recognition to the hobby and brings in new pilots and their talent.

On that note, is there a clear and defined path for a park racer to assend to the levels of DRL Ummagawd or will my YouTube channel views dictate that?
Jan 27, 2016, 09:40 AM
Registered User
I can see a certain appeal to the spec racer idea. It definitely levels the playing field. But in this case, I don't see it as a cost measure. These things are cheap and the most expensive parts are attached to your face or are held in your hands and bear no impact on the results.

However is being called the "WWE" of anything a good thing?
Jan 27, 2016, 10:25 AM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by Conradm
I'm a huge MotoGP fan and I can tell you with 100% certainty if my favorite rider were to retire I'd quit watching it.
That tells me you are not watching for the racing.

I don't watch any organised sports and if anything catch the highlight video after the fact.

As far as the personal aspect goes unless I am personally interacting with the pilot I just don't care that much. A good example of this was attending a talk by one of the show pilots on how he modifies and maintains his airshow plane.

I'd be much more interested in behind the scenes builds and seeing how these pilots choose what hardware to run and see how they go about tuning things. This league chose to exclude that which I see as a very important part of racing and instead focused on the aspects that I don't find important at all.

I have noticed that many of the participants in this seem upset that the comminity is not jumping all over this. Before you guys take offense you need to understand that this league is not targetted at us. It is targeted at everyone else an as a result it does not hold much appeal to us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by derelicte
However is being called the "WWE" of anything a good thing?
Exactly.
Jan 27, 2016, 10:28 AM
Registered User
earlwb's Avatar
I like the idea that everyone is using the same quad design. It means it is pilot skill involved to win with some luck thrown in too. I remember in other pylon race events where money talks and pretty soon everyone is racing special airplanes, special motors, etc. It winds up pricing most people out of it.

I don't know, but I would have probably left out "WWE" as professional wrestling seems to be rigged and scripted. Maybe it isn't but it looks like it is. The old TV series with Robot Wars appeared to go down that route and they are gone now.
Jan 27, 2016, 10:36 AM
Registered User
Like Furadi said, as a pilot at the Miami race there was no drama and We just raced. Being able to follow the race even with the live footage was amazing. I cant wait to see the post footage. Going to be Epic
Jan 27, 2016, 10:42 AM
Registered User
earlwb's Avatar
I look forward to seeing it too. Sounds good so far.
Jan 27, 2016, 11:47 AM
RCG Admin
Jason Cole's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hazakins
Like Furadi said, as a pilot at the Miami race there was no drama and We just raced. Being able to follow the race even with the live footage was amazing. I cant wait to see the post footage. Going to be Epic
Was there any fancy electronics to get a signal through the concrete and steel stadium when they went inside? Just curious how they were able to transmit video reliably enough to fly that course.


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