A New York startup focused on drone racing has won millions of dollars in sponsorship deals with cryptocurrency platform Algorithm. This is a move to shine more visibility in both the technology-centric sports league and the growing role of the crypto industry in sports marketing.
The deal, announced Tuesday, is worth $ 100 million over the next five years, drone racing league officials confirmed on CBS MoneyWatch. As part of the deal, the league will release tickets for racing events, NFTs and other fan goods in Argoland. According to the agreement, Argoland will have the naming rights to the Drone League Championship Series.
In a statement, Argoland CEO Steve Kokinos said the drone racing deal “introduces the potential of blockchain to racing and sports to millions of tech enthusiasts.”
The marriage of Argoland and Drone Racing is the latest example of a match between the sports world and crypto creators. Dapper Labs, a Canadian blockchain company, became the NBA’s official digital collector marketplace in 2019. Since then, the company has generated over $ 200 million in sales, Forbes reported in February. The Martial Arts League UFC signed Crypto.com as the official NFT platform earlier this year for $ 175 million.
The Drone Racing League was founded in 2015 by former film producer and founder Nicholas Houltevsky, a graduate of Harvard University.
Drone racers follow a NASCAR-like competitive structure where points are totaled at the end of a series of races and the overall winner is crowned. Each drone is equipped with a different shade of neon color so that the viewer can distinguish each racer. The race will be livestreamed on Twitter and broadcast from the Arena in St. Paul, Minnesota. Memphis, Tennessee and more. The sixth season of the league begins on September 29th.
In addition to Argoland, the Drone Racing League has other sponsorship agreements with T-Mobile and the US Air Force. Earlier this year, the league announced DraftKings as the official sports betting platform.
The drone league also has a lot of financial support. It raised $ 20 million in a 2017 funding round featuring early investors WWE and Hurst. Touchdown Ventures took the lead in the $ 26 million funding round in 2019. Miami Dolphins owner and real estate mogul Stephen Ross is another early investor in the racing league and, according to the CEO, is appealing to fans beyond traditional sports fans.
Drone racing is one of the “no need to love stick-and-ball sports, no need to fly a drone,” said league CEO Rachel Jacobson on Tuesday. Fans are paying attention as the racers are fascinated by the elaborate courses they have to navigate and begin to form connections with various drone pilots, she said.
Drone racing fans aren’t your typical grid iron or hoop fanatic, Jacobson told CBS Money Watch. She said the league is attracting an audience from a crowd of 16-34 years old who love technology, especially robotics and artificial intelligence, as well as games and devices. Former NBA executive Jacobson said 70% of drone racing spectators did not follow traditional stick-and-ball sports and “don’t care about the number of touchdown passes Tom Brady threw.”
Drone Racing League wins $ 100 million sponsorship from Argoland
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