If you’re lucky enough to own a drone – which I know many of us are – you’ll have bought it for one of two reasons. Some buyers just want a cool new hobby that lets them indulge in casual photography and video making from a fresh perspective. Others bought it as a means to an end – a new way of making a living. Startup drone businesses are on the rise. People hire drone services as innovative ways of carrying out site surveys and mapping. Drones are increasingly common sights at wedding receptions, as happy couples find new ways to record the grand scale of their big day. Individuals and businesses trying to sell homes and properties make more and more use of drone services to capture impressive, breathtaking images of whatever asset they want to put on the market.
There are plenty of ways to make money out of owning a drone, and if this sounds like you, you might even be making a substantial monthly figure from it already. But chances are you’re missing a big trick, and a whole new growth industry. Drone racing.
What Is Drone Racing?
There’s an old piece of received wisdom that says so long as a format exists, people will find a way to gamble on it. You can race people, cars, horses, dogs, and even slugs if you want to. But you can also race drones. What started as a quirky and fun idea has become something of a technology race between different drone manufacturers, and now gambling websites are starting to get in on it, too.
You can think of drone racing as the Formula 1 of the air, without all the corners and speed restrictions getting in the way. That’s not to say that indoor drone racing tracks don’t exist – they do. AerialGP offers a whole range of indoor and outdoor drone racing activities, and it’s not the only organized drone racing company who’s emerged in recent times. The Drone Racing League was formed in 2017, and when it has a sponsor as big as Allianz, that should tell you a lot about both the scale of the events, and the amount of money wrapped up in it.
The new format is pushing hard to gain mainstream recognition and acceptance. The Drone Racing League partnered with the most recent series of popular Amazon TV show “The Grand Tour” for promotional purposes, hoping that there would be a natural correlation between people interested in motor sports, and people who’d be excited by a new form of high speed racing. Aside from the fact that the drivers aren’t in the vehicles, there are definitely comparisons to be made. Hi-tech camera on the nose cones of these racing drones relay images back to the controllers in real time, each of whom rely on their skill and judgment to stay ahead of the competition.
How Do People Make Money Out Of It?
Well, winning races is a good start! Professional racers make big money, and when you have major sponsors offering the rewards, it makes it a worthwhile pursuit. But major gambling websites have started to warm to the idea too, both in offering odds on the races and sponsoring teams. Racing has always been part of human history, even back to Cleopatra times when they use to race each other with chariots!
Is It A Sport Or An E-Sport?
There’s a temptation to lump drone racing in with the rest of the expanding sports betting markets we’ve seen come of age in the past few years. Football has really led the way with that – most major real life football clubs now have an official representative who plays for them on FIFA and similar titles. Betting on e-sports has gone from a niche interest to a lucrative market, and recently real life clubs have been buying real life video games players from each other. Germany’s Wolfsburg recently paid a significant cash sum to land a video game player from Manchester City. But we’d argue that drone racing doesn’t fit into the general e-sport area. All e-sports are typically conducted in the area of games and virtual reality. There’s no physical aspect, and you need a computer screen to watch it.
Drone racing happens in the real world. The pilot may not physically be sat inside their drone, but they’re still controlling it in real time, and spectators can see the drones moving in the real world. If anything, it might belong to a whole new sports genre – where video game skills and remote control meet with real life high speed racing to give us a sport we’ve never truly seen before.
When’s The Best Time To Get Involved?
Right now. There’s no doubt about that. Once an activity starts growing like this, along with an attached industry trying to make money out of it, demand for new players is strong. All of the racing teams are looking to recruit the best of the best, and if you’ve been quietly operating drones accurately and efficiently for the past few years, you might already have the skills they’re looking for. But the window probably won’t be open for too long. As popularity grows, so will competition for ‘seats’ on the racing teams. If you can get yourself in at an early stage you have a better chance of sticking around in the sport for the long term. A year from now, the best players will be locked into place, and every new team that appears will be fending off applications from hundreds, if not thousands, of drone operators eager to show what they can do.
So if you’re an experienced drone operator, and you think you have the qualities required to be a racer, what are you waiting for? This could be your chance to make more money from your hobby and experience all the adrenaline thrills of competitive racing at the right time! Find a team who’s operating close to you and show them what you can do. If you’re the right person for the job, you could become the Lewis Hamilton of the sky!