Haute 100 NYC: Stephen Ross Ventures Into Drone Racing

Stephen ross

Stephen Ross is well-known as a real estate magnate and the owner of the Miami Dolphins. However, he is branching out and investing into a new sport—drone racing.

Ross Sports and Entertainment (RSE) Ventures, a sports and entertainment investment firm co-founded by the business magnate, invested $1 million into the first round of funding for the Drone Racing League, a New York startup that will make its debut later this year, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The new league plans to target videogame players and other technology-savvy individuals. Its hope is to evoke the same excitement and success of live video game competitions.

Matt Higgins, president and CEO of RSE Ventures, ESPN, “We backed it because it has all the makings of a modern-day sport, Twitch meets Formula One. The pilots have to have great reflexes and hone their skills over hours and hours of practice. And first-person viewing lends itself to an amazing spectator experience with virtual reality.”

How the emerging sport works is an individual, often referred to as the pilot, wears virtual-reality goggles so that the individual feel as if he or she is inside the cockpit. The participant navigates the drone via a remote control. Drones, which can typically cost from $300 to $500 can go up to 70 mph. However, there are popular camera drones like the DJI’s Phantoms and Parrot’s Bepop that can run participants about $1,000. There are approximately five to seven individuals in a drone race.

“It’s a completely immersive experience that’ll make you feel like you’re flying,” Ceo of the Drone Racing League Nick Horbaczewski said to WSJ.

For the league’s debut, the sport will first be presented on television. Horbaczewski hopes it will soon evolve to having spectators in the stands.

Prior to starting the Drone Racing League, Horbaczewski was the chief revenue officer at Tough Mudder, a series of hardcore 10-12 mile obstacle race as well as mud run events designed by British Special Forces.