We already knew this week's winter X-Games was going to feature some new technology — just last week GoPro announced it would be testing broadcast-grade live streaming during the event. Now ESPN has told Engadget it will be filming the competitions with a drone.
ESPN may be the first network to use live images from a drone during a sporting event in the United States, according to Chris Calcinari, who is the VP of ESPN's Sports Remote Production Operations. Camera operators will pilot the drones "behind, overhead and in front of the competitors." There's no guarantee the footage will air, though, due to the nascence of the technology and concerns like bad weather.
To film with drones at all, ESPN worked with the FAA. The network had to prove that any filming would be done only by members of the production crew, and also had to ensure that the filming airspace isn't accessible by the public. Considering how easily dangerous drones can be, that's a good thing.