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GoPro, EMC, Ernst & Young, and AIG Go Big On Drone Racing

Flying drone with cameraPhotogtaph by Buena Vista Images — Getty Images

What does action-camera maker GoPro, business technology giant EMC, insurance heavyweight AIG, and accounting firm Ernst & Young have in common? They’re all sponsors of a national drone racing competition.

The upcoming 2016 National Drone Racing Championships has signed the companies as “major partners,” the event’s organizer, the Drone Sports Association, said Monday. The drone racing competition will take place Aug. 5 to 7 at Governors Island in New York City.

“This is a big step forward for DSA and drone racing as a sport,” Drone Sports Association chairman Dr. Scot Refsland said in a statement. “To have major brands like GoPro (GPRO), AIG (AIG), EMC (EMC), and EY (EY) follow ESPN and become our partners is an incredible testament to the immense growth of drone racing.”

Several drone racing leagues and competitions have emerged in recent years including the World Drone Prix, which was held in March in Dubai. The 15-year-old British boy who won that event collected $250,000.

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The National Drone Racing Championships stands out for being the first drone competition to be broadcast by ESPN. It will also broadcast the 2016 World Racing Championships scheduled for Oct. 17 to 22 in Kualoa Ranch, HI.

Category winners at the National Drone Racing Championships, like freestyle and team sport, will be qualify to represent Team USA during the world championships, according to the competition’s website.

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GoPro is the lead sponsor of the national drone racing competition, the Drone Sports Association said. The struggling action-camera maker said in May that it would delay the release of its planned Karma drone until the upcoming winter holiday season.

GoPro is hoping that drone sales will offset declines in its camera business.