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Ex-NBA Exec to Helm Drone Racing League

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DRL President, Rachel Jacobson

Former NBA SVP of Global Partnerships Rachel Jacobson has been named as the president of the Drone Racing League. Jacobson will be tasked with scaling DRL up, developing new opportunities to engage league partners with more than 250 million global fans.

“From hosting live competitions and global esports tournaments to broadcasting and streaming thrilling races on premier international networks like NBC, Twitter and Weibo, DRL has seen an uptick of nearly 200 percent average viewership, 90 percent increased virtual drone racing participation, and 60 percent fanbase growth across social media over the past year,” a DRL press release stated.

“Leaders across the sports and tech industries love and respect Rachel — she’s tenacious, strategic and laser focused on delivering ROI for partners, and we’re excited for her to join the league,” DRL CEO Nicholas Horbaczewski said.

Jacobson will spearhead global partnerships and media-rights deals and lead the marketing and business development teams. Jacobson spent 21 years at the NBA, where she closed nearly $1 billion in partnership sales and earned numerous accolades including Sports Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Award.

Most recently, Jacobson was the Chief Business Development Officer at Landit, the market leader in “personalized career pathing technology to increase the success and engagement of women and diverse groups in the workplace.”

“I am incredibly excited to join the Drone Racing League and look forward to integrating new global partners into the thrilling sport of professional drone racing,” Jacobson said.

“Blending the digital with the real, DRL is known as a real-life video game and takes everything I love about traditional sports and intersects it with cutting edge technology, innovative storytelling, and esports competition to engage the next generation of fans.”

The change comes in the wake of a DRL’s recent partnership with FanDuel in a deal that gives the fantasy-sports giant access to the 2020 DRL SIM Tryouts Finals, the world’s only player-to-pilot esports tournament. Earlier this year, DRL also unveiled DRL Academy, an innovative STEM program featuring online learning opportunities for students studying science, engineering, and unmanned aircraft technology.

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