As commercial and personal drone use has soared, drone racing – think Indy 500 but with drones – may also gaining traction, and Allianz has inked a multi-year sponsorship deal that will give it a significant piece of the action.

Allianz and the Drone Racing League say they’ve signed a global multi-year partnership. Neither side is discussing financial terms, but the agreement makes Allianz the title sponsor of DRL’s race circuit.

Allianz said the agreement will allow it to connect with consumers in the drone industry, noting that its aviation insurer, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty, already sells a number of drone products for private and commercial drone operators, manufacturers, repairers, flight schools and training facilities. The insurer is also among a number of carriers that use drones now for property claims assessment and agriculture insurance.

Allianz, long a backer and sponsor of motor racing, terms drone racing in its deal announcement as the “Sport of the Future.” What the sponsorship gives Allianz: its name on what will be known formally as the Allianz World Championship 2017 Series, a drone racing season involving six races that will be aired in more than 75 countries beginning in June. Sixteen “top drone pilots” will take part, Allianz said, flying racing drones at more than 90 MPH through a series of 3-D race courses in venues in Miami, New Orleans, Atlanta, Boston, Munich and London.

Plans call for broadcasting the races on ESPN, Sky Sports, Prosieben, OSN and other global broadcast channels. The DRL launched in 2015, according to the deal announcement.

Nicholas Horbaczewski, CEO and founder of the DRL, said in prepared remarks that the partnership with Allianz reflects “a huge leap forward for professional drone racing.”

“Allianz is bringing world-renowned brand credibility and a proud history of innovative sports partnerships, including an extensive tradition in auto racing,” Horbaczewski added. “The scale and long-term nature of the deal shows Allianz’s commitment to advancing the sport and will accelerate the introduction of drone racing to the world.”

Allienz SE Head of Management and Distribution Jean-Marc Pailhol, said that the agreement will help propel its drone insurance business forward.

“Drones are already an important part of our business so we’re excited to align with DRL as they harness the latest technical advancements and reimagine what racing in the 21st century looks like,” Pailhol said.

In October 2015, Allianz and AIG were among those that launched the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Insurance Association, a trade association focused on the surging commercial drone industry. Allianz is also among insurers who have shifted their attention in recent years toward covering commercial drones as civilian and commercial use has mushroomed.

Among other insurers who are using drones to aid in their claims and underwriting: Erie Insurance, AIG, USAA and State Farm.

Source: Allianz