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EMAILED ON July 31, 2018 BY Conor Grant

The world’s largest drone tourney is a genius marketing campaign for DJI

RoboMaster, a drone tournament that pits international roboticists against one another, wrapped up this weekend when South China University of Technology took home the 500k yuan ($73,387.50 USD) first prize.

RoboMaster is growing rapidly thanks to the diligent promotional efforts of founding sponsor, DJI (which just happens to be the world’s largest drone manufacturer).

The best marketing doesn’t look like marketing…

It looks like a drone-on-drone deathmatch. At least, that’s what DJI must have thought when it launched the RoboMasters competition 4 years ago. 

DJI started RoboMaster in 2015 to generate interest in robots, and has promoted the new robo-sport extensively — running ads on Chinese streaming sites and broadcasting a video series on Tencent Video. 

So far, the promotion is working  — this year’s ’ship attracted 10k in-person viewers and a further 990k streaming viewers in 30 countries (courtesy of Twitch).

Stay tuned for Michigan v. Virginia Tech in next year’s Drone Final 4

Now that DJI has popularized drone-sports in China, it’s setting its robotic sights on the rest of the world in order to expand its drone biz.

This year, the competition attracted nearly 10k engineers from schools in China, the US, the UK, Canada, Singapore, Japan, Germany, and Macau.

DJI plans to expand RoboMaster — which not only generates buzz about drones but also helps the company identify and recruit top engineers — by creating regional tournaments and summer camps in the US and Japan.

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