Europe’s leading pay-TV group Sky, known for splashing out billions of pounds on coverage of glamorous sports to keep an edge over its rivals, said on Wednesday it had identified the next big thing: drone racing.
Sky, which has 22 million paying customers in Britain, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy, plans to add elite drone racing to its portfolio of European soccer and Formula One racing in a $1 million investment in the sport.
Drone racing features land-based pilots flying custom-designed radio-controlled aircraft through complex three-dimensional race courses at high speed. A mounted camera provides a live video stream.
Sky, which is 39 percent-owned by Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox, said it invested the money in the New York-based Drone Racing League and would show 10 one-hour episodes on a new channel from October in Britain and Ireland.
Sky pays huge sums for exclusive sports rights to lure subscribers. (Reporting by Peter Hobson; editing by Kate Holton and William Schomberg)