Are Drones the Future of Spectator Sports?

With the unmatched camera and video capabilities of drones and quadcopters, it’s only a matter of time before these unmanned aerial photographers and videographers take over the world of spectator sports.


Imagine in the CrossFit games if every single contestant had a drone following them around and you could follow them in first person view via an FPV goggle system:


There are so many angles, heights, and shots being missed in competitive sports that drones and quadcopters could cover.



In football and other outdoor games you’ll see them run wires that cameras slide on, or film from above but why not use drones? They’re cheap, video is top notch, and you can get every single angle imaginable. Before we go any further let’s check out this video of some incredible shots of drones filming action sports:



So what sports could benefit from this?

I think as shown by the video, extreme sports could definitely benefit from drone videography as you can get angles never before seen. You can be up on the cliff with a skiier without needing a helicopter, you can film BEHIND a surfer or wakeboarder, and you can follow a biker around the track from in front, behind, or above.


How about more mainstream sports?

A few mainstream sports that I think could benefit from the use of drones for videography and photography are:



The CrossFit games sometimes have the contestants running, swimming, and biking. With fixed or semi-mobile camera locations, viewership is not always ideal. If the top contestants had a drone auto-following them AND you could watch that drone in a first person view I think that would be super cool.

Imagine a drone following each of the top 5 athletes during the event and you could toggle between watching them for a first person, interactive experience – woo!



Biking, say for example in Le Tour De France which has recently been going on is another key sport that drones could take over the filming in. With aerial videos of the pack, leaders, and providing in front/above angles that the current videography isn’t able to handle could really refresh the sport.



I think that the filming of tennis is horribly done. I know that players often complain about cameras sliding across in their field of view, but drones can be more inconspicuous than that and provide a much needed refresher for angles and heights for filming tennis matches.

They could at least provide an alternate view for the fans rather than the traditional overhead view which I think would really do a lot for the sport and maybe attract some new viewership.



Here’s an example of what I’m talking about – check out this drone filming some football scrimmage:



You NEVER see these angles in the NFL, and this drone would be so cheap and easy to operate overhead of the players – it could even be automated.

Why we don’t have this implemented yet I don’t know. Soccer/football is another great example of a huge field of play that could be better covered with the implementation of drones.


Drones Filming Sports Conclusion

Overall I think that the inclusion of a drone in the recording of live sports events is a great idea, however it doesn’t come without challenges.


The good:

  • Cheap
  • Easy to operate, can even automate
  • New never before seen angles
  • More coverage, more footage
  • Could attract more fans



  • Battery life
  • Potentially distracting to players
  • What if the drone crashes?
  • Drone laws


Let me know what you think of this idea in the comments, I’d love to hear what you think and if there are any other sports this could work for.