NFL’s Rams Green-Lighted for Drones at Practice, for Cinematography


The Los Angeles Rams (formerly the St. Louis Rams) have become the latest National Football League (NFL) team to receive a Section 333 exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for commercial drone operations.

According to last week’s granted exemption, the organization is now authorized “to conduct aerial data collection in support of professional sports activities and closed set motion picture and television production.”

Filed by Dentons partner Mark. E. McKinnon, counsel for The Saint Louis Rams LLC, the petition for exemption – dated Aug. 25, 2015, when the Rams were still in St. Louis – says the football team “will utilize the vehicles for capturing images of its practices to analyze player and team performance as well as for promotional purposes.”

Specifically, according to the petition, the organization will use the DJI Phantom 3 quadcopter.

In January, the Dallas Cowboys inked a commercial exemption to operate the Phantom 3 for “aerial data collection, videography and imaging of its training facilities” in Irving, Texas, and Oxnard, Calif. In its petition, the Cowboys noted the safety benefits of drones versus Skycam technology, which uses a cabled system to film over players.

The Tennessee Titans received their commercial green light for the Phantom 3 last November; not long before that, NFL Productions – the production company of the NFL – was approved to use the DJI Phantoms 1 and 2, as well as the Inspire 1, for photography and cinematography.

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