Founder and CEO, Drone Racing League
Nicholas Horbaczewski is in uncharted territory with Drone Racing League. Typically, it takes years for a new sport or organization to gain a prominent TV contract. DRL accomplished the feat mere months after airing its first event. The only downside to agreeing to a multiyear broadcast deal
with ESPN so quickly was the nascent league had to go dark soon after its much-ballyhooed debut so it could create content for a 10-episode series that aired this fall.
Horbaczewski isn’t thinking in months, but rather years. He’s out to build a league that lasts, and you shouldn’t bet against him. When announcing the ESPN deal, DRL also laid its murderers’ row of investors. The U.K.-based Sky Sports, German-centric 7Sports (parent company of ProSieben) and Mark Burnett’s MGM Television are all part of a group pouring $12 million into the league.
Events in Germany and the U.K. are already in the books for 2017, and Horbaczewski says it’s only a matter of time before the races are run in front of live audiences (they are prerecorded now). “We’re creating a cool experience where thousands of people can watch a sport in a context they’ve never seen before,” says Horbaczewski, former senior vice president of revenue and business development at Tough Mudder.
Related Post: Is the Drone Racing League the Future of Sports?
The 2016 Game Changers are sponsored by Sports Pittsburgh