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T-Mobile teaming with Drone Racing League to help emerging sport develop 5G-enabled tech

T-Mobile is teaming with the Drone Racing League in a multi-year deal that makes the Bellevue, Wash.-based wireless carrier the exclusive 5G partner for the organization, the companies announced Monday.

T-Mobile is investing in DRL through its T-Mobile Ventures fund and the plan is to help the league develop high-speed 5G drones which would be able to stream 3D racing action in real time and provide immersive experiences to fans of the sport.

The Drone Racing League was founded in 2015 and involves skilled pilots flying custom drones through live and virtual locations around the globe, including sports stadiums. The so-called “New Playing Field” combines live racing action with esports, and the pilots wear goggles that stream a video fed from a camera on their racing drones as they navigate complex courses.

Professional drone pilots in the Drone Racing League. (Joe Lemke Photo)

Races are broadcast and streamed on NBC, NBCSN, Twitter and Facebook.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but T-Mobile Ventures is focused on early and emerging growth companies developing products and services for its 5G network. DRL will benefit from T-Mobile’s network and engineering expertise, go-to-market infrastructure and investment backing, the companies said.

As part of the partnership, DRL will feature T-Mobile in the 2021 DRL Allianz World Championship Season through advertising spots and branded course elements in the DRL SIM, the virtual platform hosting the elite competition. T-Mobile will also support the DRL Academy, the league’s STEM program, “creating educational programming around 5G and drones to inspire the next generation of technologists and digital athletes,” according to a news release.

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