T-Mobile and global professional drone racing property The Drone Racing League (DRL) have announced a broad-reaching partnership to advance 5G-powered drone technology. As part of the multi-year deal, T-Mobile has made an investment in DRL via the company’s T-Mobile Ventures fund, and the Un-carrier has signed on as the league’s exclusive U.S. 5G Wireless partner. Together, T-Mobile and DRL will innovate 5G racing drone technology to create the first integrated 5G racing drones, with the aim of authentically building them into the sport. DRL will develop first-of-its-kind, custom racing drones powered by T-Mobile 5G, during the 2021 DRL Allianz World Championship Season.
“We invested in DRL to fuel innovation in two large and growing markets – drones and tech-powered sports – and we can’t wait to supercharge both with T-Mobile 5G,” said Neville Ray, President of Technology at T-Mobile. “The world’s fastest drones and the nation’s largest 5G network – now that’s a fantastic combination!”
DRL features the world’s top pilots flying custom racing drones through live and virtual iconic locations around the globe to create the New Playing Field, combining the adrenaline of high-speed racing with the limitless possibilities of esports. In live events, pilots race standardized FPV (First Person View) drones at nearly 100 miles per hour, wearing goggles that stream a live video feed from a camera on their drone, as they navigate complex, three-dimensional courses. Tens of millions of next generation sports fans watch DRL on premier sports networks around the world, including NBC, NBCSN, Twitter and Facebook.
“T-Mobile is one of the most innovative marketers in sports, entertainment, and technology – sharing our mission to bring the most immersive experiences to millions of fans around the world. With a foundation of the best 5G wireless technology to power our racing drones, we’re excited to set the new standard for sports and create cutting-edge content and collaborations across T-Mobile’s sports, music and lifestyle properties,” said DRL President Rachel Jacobson.
Innovating through new groundbreaking technology is part of DRL’s DNA: The league has launched four iterations of racing drones, a record-setting fastest racing drone, and the first autonomous racing drone – all designed and hand-built with proprietary technology by its in-house team of expert drone engineers. The addition of T-Mobile 5G will propel the sport forward and offer new opportunities to drive fan engagement. Data shows that DRL fans are ready, willing, and able to play a part – they are 14X more likely than the U.S. population to be considered “tech-savvy” and 4X more likely to be interested in gaming.
T-Mobile has invested in DRL through T-Mobile Ventures, a multi-year investment fund focused on early and emerging growth companies developing groundbreaking 5G products and services for the T-Mobile network. As a T-Mobile Ventures portfolio company, DRL will benefit from T-Mobile’s network and engineering expertise, go-to-market infrastructure, and investment backing as the companies work together to develop the next big thing in 5G racing drones and sports technology.
As part of the partnership, DRL will feature T-Mobile in the 2021 DRL Allianz World Championship Season through advertising spots and branded course elements in the DRL SIM, the virtual platform hosting the elite competition. T-Mobile will also support the DRL Academy, the league’s STEM program, creating educational programming around 5G and drones to inspire the next generation of technologists and digital athletes.