At the beginning of the summer, the FAA said it would be investigating NFL teams (specifically the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants) for allegedly using drones during practice sessions.
These caveats are pretty standard; the drone must be under 55 pounds, not fly any higher than 400 feet, and travel no faster than 100 miles per hour.
Oh, and the drones can only operate over empty stadiums so there will be no filming during practice or games.
This little tidbit might make the whole announcement feel a little underwhelming, until you realize the film division produces films, documentaries and short news segments and doesn’t produce any live broadcasts.
So this exemption was never going to let drones fly during Monday Night Football in the first place.
However, this doesn’t mean we will never see a drone-cam during a football broadcast and it doesn’t mean teams will never get to use drones to film practices.
For starters, using drones during practices is becoming increasingly popular at the college level. UCLA and Clemson have been very honest about their use of drones and the advantages the technology provides.
Additionally, FOX and NBC, both of which broadcast a number of NFL games throughout the season, have used drones in other sports broadcasts (the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay and the Sochi Olympics, respectively).
And the results from these productions have been extremely positive because, 1) The footage fits seamlessly in the broadcast and you probably didn’t realize you were seeing a drone shot when watching these productions and 2) There hasn’t been any crashes at these drone captured events because if there had been, the media would have been all over it like white on rice. (The exception, of course, is the unauthorized drone that landed in the stands at the U.S. Open -tennis, not golf this time- but that drones was flown by an independent hobbyist for fun rather than by a trained professional employed by a network.)
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com