By Riley Kaminer
On February 25th, LoanDepot Park – home of the Miami Marlins – will transform into a high-tech course for the most cutting edge drones and pilots, as it welcomes the Drone Racing League’s World Championship: Miami 3-0-FLY.
“Spectators are going to see the 12 best drone pilots in the world race the fastest drones through a completely custom course, which will make the baseball stadium look like they’ve stepped into a real life video game,” Anne Marie Gianutsos, the league’s CMO, told Refresh Miami.
The stadium will be completely dark, with drones illuminated by a thousand LED lights. The area surrounding the pilots – the flight deck, as the League calls it – will be illuminated as well. All the while, the League’s highly custom drones will be buzzing around at nearly 100 miles an hour. (But don’t worry, the League works closely with the FAA to ensure the safety of all spectators and participants.)
Gianutsos explained that the course has been designed with fans in mind, with the goal of getting drones to pass as close to spectators as possible. The family-friendly event will ultimately crown two winners: a winner of the event and a winner of the season – although this could be the same person. Ultimately, it will be the drone pilot’s skills that determine their success, since all the drones come from the Drone Racing League.
The closest equivalent to drone racing might be Formula One, with a focus on fast moving action and highly technical skill. One key differentiator, however, is accessibility: a ticket to the Drone Racing League World Championship costs $25. The League is also unique in that it has in-person, eSports, and metaverse experiences all wrapped into one sport and all on equal footing.
Gianutsos said that 70% of Drone Racing League’s spectators are people who don’t necessarily engage with traditional sports. These “tech setters,” as she calls them, love gaming and are very interested in technology. The Drone Racing League also has a significant following on social media channels including TikTok, where the League boasts upwards of five million followers.
While the League is based in New York, Miami holds a special importance for the organization. It is here where they hosted their inaugural event, in 2016. And Gianutsos said that Miami’s excellence in tech, web3, and unique nightlife experiences made it a clear choice for their World Championship.
“It’s really about igniting upon Miami’s passion points of tech, sports, and culture,” she said. “Drone Racing is going to fit into that narrative over the long term.” As part of their Miami activation, Gianutsos and other representatives from the League plan to visit local universities to spread the word about drone racing and the marketing and engineering opportunities present in this rapidly-growing sport.
WHAT: Miami 3-0-FLY: The Drone Racing League’s World Championship
WHO: Families, tech enthusiasts, and more
WHEN: February 25th, doors open at 6 pm and the race starts at 7:15 pm.
WHERE: LoanDepot Park
BUY TICKETS: Marlins’ Website ($25 per ticket / 20% off for family of 4)
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