DRL Introduces Life Like Simulator, Opens Tryouts for Spot in ‘18 Season and $75,000 Contract

DRL has introduced the web-based, realistic, drone flight/racing DRL Simulator to be used in qualifying for the 2018 DRL Allianz (AZSEY) World Championship Season. Beginning today, aspiring pilots can download the Simulator on Steam (cost: $19.99) and compete on virtual maps of real racecourses from the 2016 and 2017 DRL seasons; with open tryouts running through January 15th, 2018. The top 24 pilots will qualify in the 2018 Swatch (OTC: SWGAY) DRL Tryouts, a live esports-style tournament that will be streamed globally on February 3rd, 2018. The winner will receive a spot in the Championship season and a $75,000 professional contract.

Howie Long-Short: DRL is a global sports league, so partnering with SWGAY; a brand with global reach, makes sense. During the 1st half of 2017, SWGAY grew sales 1.2% YOY (on a constant currency basis) to $3.9 billion; while increasing profits 6.8% YOY to $298.49 million. UBS strategist Karen Olney was quoted in a story yesterday touting Swiss stocks; citing their cheap valuations, a secure market and the potential for big returns as the local economy improves. SWGAY is based in Switzerland.

Fan Marino: You don’t have to be an expert pilot to participate in the competition. In fact, you don’t even need experience operating a drone. As DRL CEO Nicholas Horbaczewski said, the Simulator was built to be “one-to-one with real life” and will teach you all the elements necessary to fly one. Once you complete the 50 training missions, “you’ll be a very competent drone pilot.” Then pick up a DRL Nikko Air DRL Drone ($139.99) at a mass market retailer and impress your friends with your newfound skill-set.

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NBA sponsors spent a record $861 million during the 2016-2017 season, a 7.8% jump from 2015-2016 and a significant increase from the projected 4.3% annual increase in overall sports sponsorship expenditures. Sponsorship dollars are expected to rise again during the 2017-2018 season, with a new 8 year/$1 billion Nike (NKE) uniform deal beginning and teams selling advertising patches on their jerseys for the first time. State Farm, Anheuser-Busch Inbev (BUD), Gatorade (PEP) and Tissot (OTC: SWGAY) were the league’s most active sponsors during the ’16-’17 season.

Howie Long-Short: The data was compiled by ESP Properties, a sports & entertainment research and consulting firm owned by WPP (WPPGY), an international advertising & PR firm. Back in August, WPPGY cut full year revenue projections to between 0-1% for 2017 as some of their high-profile clients have cut back on ad spend (the consumer goods sector, in particular). CEO Martin Sorrell warned that Facebook (FB) & Google’s (GOOGL) dominance as advertising platforms and Amazon’s (AMZN) disruption of the retail sector are holding back ad growth world-wide. If he’s right, things are going to get worse for WPPGY (and others in the advertising world) before they get better.

Fan Marino: 9 of the league’s 30 teams had team sponsorship revenues below the league average last year; Charlotte Hornets, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, Philadelphia 76ers, Sacramento Kings and Utah Jazz. Only Charlotte and New Orleans do not have jersey patch sponsorships in place for this season. Is it a coincidence that the other 7 were proactive in securing lucrative ad patch deals? Probably not.

Sponsorship Spend On NBA Tops $880M, Will ‘Skyrocket’ With Nike, Jersey Deals