Morning Buzz

Drone Racing League gets $100M crypto deal

By Adam Stern

The Drone Racing League is getting into the crypto space via a new title sponsorship with blockchain platform Algorand representing the property’s largest ever deal. The partnership is for five years and stretches into the nine figures total, according to a source, so it’s worth at least $20M annually or $100M total. It was not clear whether Algorand will pay DRL in cash, crypto or a mixture of the two. Assets include naming rights to the DRL series, and the sides will roll out blockchain-enabled ticketing, NFTs, collectables and other fan transactions as part of the deal. The sides will also host Algorand-sponsored hackathons at DRL events and races. Activation will be at events as well as on broadcast, digital and social channels. Other elements of the new Algorand deal include DRL developing a new digital drone racing series using the Algorand network. Excel Sports Management helped broker the new deal.

The Boston-based Algorand comes on as title sponsor of DRL replacing Allianz, which originally signed on in '17 as title sponsor in a pact that was reportedly worth eight figures total, so this new deal marks a huge upgrade. DRL will look to make crypto the next technology-related field it gets involved with while Algorand will look to introduce fans to blockchain technology. The deal comes one day after Algorand, which was founded in '17 and launched its network in '19, was announced as the base platform for a partnership between Anthony Scaramucci's hedge fund SkyBridge Capital and trading platform NAX that has raised $250M. Algorand also has a deal with the Le Mans virtual motorsports series.

The '21-22 DRL season starts later this month, with media rights held by NBCSN and Twitter and stops including Allianz Field and FedEx Forum. DRL, which was founded in ’15, has 12 drone pilots fly custom-made drones more than 90 miles per hour around obstacle courses.Other sponsors of DRL include Champion, T-Mobile and U.S. Air Force.

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