Usage of drones in Sports communication – new ethetics and enlargement of space

Talk at 16th Annual International Conference on Sports: Economic, Management, Marketing & Social Aspects, 9-12 May 2016, Athens, Greece


Abstract: In digital media society more and more the use of drones in sports communication get relevant, Goldberg, Corcoran and Picard (2013, 3) speak about a „generation drone“. The majority of the literature mentions the ethical and legal aspects of the drone’s use in public (Boucher, 2014; Gynnild, 2014). The drone is often associated with military (Roush, 2014), journalistic (Captain, 2012) or with privacy and data protection aspects (Boucher, 2014).

Aspects for usage of drones or possibilities for enlargement of space and new athletics in sports are very rare to find. Gynnild (2014, 341) points out: „The innovation of drones for journalistic purposes will most likely replace, or, more precisely, supplement visual news coverage on the ground with new kinds of aerial views as well as options for aerial close-ups that were formerly unseen.” Goldberg, Corcoran and Picard (2013, 24) underline possible reciprocal effects: ,,Because application of drones in journalism is only just emerging, it is unknown how the public will react to their use.”

However, nearly none of the current studies answered the following research questions: What is the cinematic and dramaturgical challenge of drone’s usage? What chances and risks become relevant for practical use?

The usage of drones in sports communication was examined with several case studies at the Macromedia, University of Applied Sciences, supported by the media foundation of Hamburg/Schleswig-Holstein. The case studies focused on three different parts of investigating spheres: high-performance sports, aquatic sports and niche sports (Australian Football). As a result we established concrete application fields for the usage of drones in sports communication. One effect seems to be characteristic: The presence of the drone itself influences the public as it evokes reactions from the athletes and from the audience.


Boucher, P. (2014). Civil drones in society. Societal and Ethics Aspects of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems. Luxembourg: European Union. Retrieved from

Captain, S. (2012). “Livestreaming Journalists Want to Occupy the Skies with Cheap Drones.” Wired, June 1st, retrieved from

Goldberg, D., Corcoran, M., & Picard, R.G. (2013). Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems & Journalism Opportunities and Challenges of Drones in News Gathering. Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Oxford University: Oxford

Gynnild, A. (2014). The Robot Eye Witness. Extending visual journalism through drone surveillance. Digital Journalism 2, (3), 334-344

Roush, A. (2014). Up in the Air. The drone revolution isn’t coming – it’s already here. Can UT expertise help us navigate the future? Alcade, October 29th, retrieved from


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