April 28, 2017

Fitchburg drone racing hits TV in June

Drone Racing League
Drone racing at an old paper mill in Fitchburg.

The world's only professional drone racing organization competed in Fitchburg this month this month and will air on television in June, giving the North Central city a chance to introduce itself to millions of people around the world.

The Drone Racing League, which is just over year old, chose Fitchburg as the official New England site for one of six of its 2017 world championship races. The races will test players' piloting skills and the limits of first person view flight, and will be broadcast on ESPN, ESPN 2, Sky Sports Mix, and 7Sports in over 75 countries, creating the opportunity for worldwide exposure. The race took place in April and will air on television in June.

Last year, DRL's first season reached millions of people around the world, including over 30 million broadcast viewers and 43 million viewers of digital content, according to a press release from the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. DRL chose Fitchburg after meeting with the chamber's tourism arm, the Johnny Appleseed Trail Association, at a national sporting events trade show.

"Not only will the region benefit from the direct economic impact of hosting the race, but this will also showcase North Central Massachusetts to national and global audiences as a great place to host or grow a business," said Roy Nascimento, the chamber's president and CEO.

Each race will feature 16 drone pilots flying the organization's custom-designed racing drone at 90 miles per hour or more through three-dimensional racecourses in different venues around the world. The races are elimination-style and culminate in a world championship race. DRL was founded in 2015 by former Tough Mudder executive Nicholas Horbaczewski and officially launched in January 2016.

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