The appeal is simple enough: pilots strap on virtual reality goggles and fly their crafts—usually a quadcopter about the size of your forearm sporting a mounted action cam—through obstacle courses that vary in size, difficulty, and resemblance to Tron.
Still, as fun as flying a drone may be, does anyone want to watch a bunch of tiny robots do loop de loops half a football field away? Well, maybe, says Courtney Brunious, associate director of USC’s Sports Business Institute. E-sports have conditioned fans to watching similar activities on demand on their computer and there are so many sports channels today, “there aren’t enough live sports to fill the programming for all these channels,” he says, noting that ESPN has aired poker, strong man contests, and even video
“There’s always a demographic out there that will tune into your event. If you position it the right way and you really understand your market, you can sell it to your potential sponsors,” says Brunious, who studies the relationship between sports and entertainment. “And let’s be honest, seeing things fly and around and race each other can be kind of exciting.”