Google Cloud is looking to help the Drone Racing League drive further innovation, both for its participants and its fans.
As part of the pact, Google Cloud will host the first race of the 2022-23 DRL season on Oct. 11 at PayPal Park in San Jose, California. The race will coincide with Google Cloud Next, the tech company’s annual conference. Attendees will be able to participate in the Google Cloud Fly Challenge, a collaboration between the DRL and Google where participants compete against one another using the cloud in hopes of driving innovation.
Conversations between the DRL and Google Cloud began months ago, according to DRL President Rachel Jacobson. She recently spoke to Boardroom about the partnership over Zoom.
“We started talking with the entire Google organization at large to connect with multiple departments,” she said. “We don’t fit down one pathway of sports marketing — we are technology, crypto, web3, metaverse, and we knew there were incredible opportunities to work them. The Google Cloud team is so hyper-focused on the developer community and knew we could light up the developer network that is so integral to them building on Google Cloud.”
Google Cloud is just the latest partnership for the DRL under Jacobson’s leadership. Since stepping into the role in 2020, Jacobson has brokered partnerships with DraftKings, BodyArmor, Champion, Respawn, T-Mobile, Draganfly, and closed a $100 million deal with Blockchain company Algorand.
“We’ve found that technology is our sweet spot,” Jacobson said. “We resonate in this space because our drones are our ball. Some of the more traditional sports spenders, we’ve found a good zone with them and that is because we are not competitive to the NBA or NFL deal. They are actually using our channels to showcase athlete endorsers or other properties.”
Anil Jain, global managing director of media and entertainment industry solutions at Google Cloud, added in a release:
“The Drone Racing League represents a new frontier of real-world tech-driven sports and games that can only be achieved with the scale and performance of the cloud. We look forward to collaborating with DRL through advanced AI/ML and data analytics capabilities that will allow the league to reimagine how they engage with and delight their millions of tech-savvy fans, who we are excited to welcome into the Google Cloud community of innovators.”
While the season starts in October, a new era for the DRL will begin on Nov. 19 when fans will be able to tune into the action on NBC, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.