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View Poll Results: All Einstein Festival of Champions?
Terrible Idea 16 8.33%
Bad Idea 20 10.42%
Meh 56 29.17%
Good Idea 54 28.13%
Great Idea 46 23.96%
Voters: 192. You may not vote on this poll

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Unread 09-18-2017, 09:39 AM
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Festival of Champions V2.0

So... ...I attended the Festival of Champions and I had a great time. Loved it.

AND... ...I found myself wishing for something better.

Here is what I think I would like to see if I were King of FIRST (a.k.a. DK):

Every team that makes it to Einstein from the N World Championships gets an invite to a 2 day tournament with seeding rounds, drafting, and an 8 Alliance Playoffs played in the standard way (win 2 matches to advance to next level).

With the current format CMP structure that would mean 48 teams would get an invite (2 CMPs, 6 divisions per CMP, 4 teams per division). Districts show that is it quite possible to run a 48 team tournament in 2 days but if it stretched to 2.5 days or 3 days, so be it.

As a practical matter, I suppose that the number of teams actually accepting this invite to a Festival of Champions structured this way would be 30 to 40. I suggest that we'd pick a target number offer invites to division finalists as needed to get to that number (we can debate if we should have a ranking system for these invites or if it is just better to go with a lottery).

As to when to hold it, in my mind, ideally it would be held in May or June but July or early August could be made to work too.

I know this is a lot of work. I know that FIRST is ambivalent about running a competition that is too clearly focused on the "best robots." I know that there a thousand other reasons that this will never happen.

And yet... ...I hope this becomes a real thing some day.

For 2 Main Reasons.

First, the teams that rise to the top in terms of robot performance are, for the most part, really worthy teams that deserve to be celebrated. There are rare exceptions of course but nearly always the teams on Einstein are the same teams that are moving the needle in terms of FIRST's larger goals. What is more, it is also clear that many of the teams that make it to Einstein are their not because of their robot as much as because of 10's and 100's other things that they have focused on that make them formidable competitors (scouting, strategy, driver skill, robot reliability, ...). In short, the teams that make it to Einstein are worthy exemplars for the FIRST community to emulate.

Second, in the early days of FIRST, Dean Kamen included in almost every speech he gave that his vision for changing the culture was to get FIRST on TV so that kids would dream of becoming engineers & scientists in the same way that they dream of becoming professional athletes. I drank that Kool-aid. I STILL believe in that vision. I believe that a Festival of Champions with every team from Einstein would produce the kind of spectacle and drama that has a chance of drawing a real TV audience - perhaps large enough to one day cover the cost of running the event.

So... ...I call on FIRST to consider this proposal.

Vote on the poll. Where do you think this idea falls on a scale of 1 to 5?

Dr. Joe J.

TLDR: FIRST should hold a Festival of Champions structured like a regional/district that invites every Einstein team.
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Unread 09-18-2017, 09:58 AM
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Re: Festival of Champions V2.0

To ask this many teams to attend yet another 3 day+ championship, paying for everything out of pocket, is a terrible idea.

It's bad enough FIRST offered zero financial support for 2017 FoC teams. (not true, FIRST actually offered hardship grants to all attending FoC teams to assist with travel expenses.)

Why not up the production value of each set of Einstein matches and the FoC matches then edit together for an hour TV special?
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Last edited by Rick : 09-18-2017 at 10:45 AM. Reason: I was wrong on financial support for FOC teams.
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Unread 09-18-2017, 10:15 AM
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Re: Festival of Champions V2.0

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post

It's bad enough FIRST offered zero financial support for 2017 FoC teams.
Interesting comment.
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Unread 09-18-2017, 10:19 AM
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Re: Festival of Champions V2.0

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Originally Posted by Rick View Post
To ask this many teams to attend yet another 3 day+ championship, paying for everything out of pocket, is a terrible idea.
Agreed on this. And yet, if we can find someone willing to write that check I think Dr. Joe is on point here.

Einstein teams, no backfilling from division rounds. You must be at least this tall to ride.
1-1.5 days, enough to get some reasonable seeding going.
Either back to 3-team alliances or do four 4-team alliances.
Best of three until someone hoists the big gold belt.
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Last edited by Billfred : 09-18-2017 at 10:46 AM. Reason: getting the meatier part of the quote
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Unread 09-18-2017, 10:29 AM
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Re: Festival of Champions V2.0

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
To ask this many teams to attend yet another 3 day+ championship, paying for everything out of pocket, is a terrible idea.

It's bad enough FIRST offered zero financial support for 2017 FoC teams.

Why not up the production value of each set of Einstein matches and the FoC matches then edit together for an hour TV special?
FIRST was actually able to offer reasonably generous financial support for the 2017 teams.

If the tournament was scaled to be larger, I imagine that would be infeasible.
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Unread 09-18-2017, 10:29 AM
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Re: Festival of Champions V2.0

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Johnson View Post
Second, in the early days of FIRST, Dean Kamen included in almost every speech he gave that his vision for changing the culture was to get FIRST on TV so that kids would dream of becoming engineers & scientists in the same way that they dream of becoming professional athletes. I drank that Kool-aid. I STILL believe in that vision.
Who watches TV anymore?
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Unread 09-18-2017, 10:30 AM
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Re: Festival of Champions V2.0

I don't know why they don't just let the winning alliance from Houston attend the Detroit event on Saturday. After the the winner for the Detroit Championships is determined, they play the best of five with Houston vs. Detroit in Detroit. That would save a ton of money, time, and would have thousands of people there to watch the true champion crowned with the original drive team and crew.
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Unread 09-18-2017, 10:39 AM
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Re: Festival of Champions V2.0

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamHeard View Post
FIRST was actually able to offer reasonably generous financial support for the 2017 teams.

If the tournament was scaled to be larger, I imagine that would be infeasible.
Yes, I'm learning about this now. I'm glad to hear that was the case and hope FIRST continues to do this for future FoCs.

The 2017 FoC had the right amount of teams and matches.
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Unread 09-18-2017, 11:04 AM
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Re: Festival of Champions V2.0

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Originally Posted by Breakaway3937 View Post
I don't know why they don't just let the winning alliance from Houston attend the Detroit event on Saturday. After the the winner for the Detroit Championships is determined, they play the best of five with Houston vs. Detroit in Detroit. That would save a ton of money, time, and would have thousands of people there to watch the true champion crowned with the original drive team and crew.
An obvious reason in my mind is the logistical nightmare these teams would have to deal with. They just won a championship, they want to go home and celebrate, all while catching up on sleep/schoolwork. The cost of hotels and flights will be absurd, getting kids to come to this event will be near impossible, their grades will further suffer, and if a team can't attend that championship imagine FIRST trying to get a team from the finalist alliance there in 2-3 days.

I'd bet the FOC teams had enough trouble making it to an event months later, so giving our championship teams a week seems impossible.
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Unread 09-18-2017, 11:21 AM
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Re: Festival of Champions V2.0

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Originally Posted by marcusbernstein View Post
An obvious reason in my mind is the logistical nightmare these teams would have to deal with. They just won a championship, they want to go home and celebrate, all while catching up on sleep/schoolwork. The cost of hotels and flights will be absurd, getting kids to come to this event will be near impossible, their grades will further suffer, and if a team can't attend that championship imagine FIRST trying to get a team from the finalist alliance there in 2-3 days.

I'd bet the FOC teams had enough trouble making it to an event months later, so giving our championship teams a week seems impossible.
I imagine FIRST could support the travel of Houston teams to Detroit both logistically and financially, and it would cost much less than bringing all the teams to a FoC. They don't have to attend the entire Detroit Champs. FIRST could bring them out Friday evening. The compete Saturday, and return home Sunday morning. Grades don't suffer (or at least more class time is not missed) and the teams will still get their week at home to celebrate.

Make it such that winning alliance teams are the only ones eligible for travel to the Detroit event, and the slots of those teams which can't make it are filled by the closest equivalent from the Detroit event.

Logistical nightmare, yes. Major cost savings, almost definitely.
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Unread 09-18-2017, 11:25 AM
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Re: Festival of Champions V2.0

As another individual who found themselves lucky enough to attend, I agree with many of those who have already commented. An "all Einstein" Festival would have been amazing, but financially and logistically infeasible. We already had enough troubles getting 7/8 to the event!

Perhaps just the finalists from each championship for a "proper" bracket?

In my mind, the best thing you (being the wizards that be) could do, would be to make it last longer than 5 matches. Run exhibition matches, show *off* what these robots are capable of. At Chezy Champs the other day, they ran an all-fuel no gear, no climb exhibition match to show off the awesome fuel scoring capability of both alliances.

As for the television special.... I hope so. The VEX special earlier this year was very nice.
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Unread 09-18-2017, 11:32 AM
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Re: Festival of Champions V2.0

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Originally Posted by Jpatterson1710 View Post
I imagine FIRST could support the travel of Houston teams to Detroit both logistically and financially, and it would cost much less than bringing all the teams to a FoC. They don't have to attend the entire Detroit Champs. FIRST could bring them out Friday evening. The compete Saturday, and return home Sunday morning. Grades don't suffer (or at least more class time is not missed) and the teams will still get their week at home to celebrate.

Make it such that winning alliance teams are the only ones eligible for travel to the Detroit event, and the slots of those teams which can't make it are filled by the closest equivalent from the Detroit event.

Logistical nightmare, yes. Major cost savings, almost definitely.
Logistical nightmare is an understatement. Many teams flat-out wouldn't be able to get approval from their schools in time.

Not to mention the advantages it provides for Detroit teams:
  • Paying for one Championship trip instead of two
  • Having the drive team adrenaline rush of having just played through a dozen playoff matches
  • Being able to sleep the previous weekend

While FOC is obviously not ideal, given the hand of 2champs we've been dealt, I think it's a necessity to crown our World Champions.
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Unread 09-18-2017, 11:57 AM
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Re: Festival of Champions V2.0

To the many that proposed having CMP(N-1) attend the CMP(Nth), I salute the idea but I don't see this as being anywhere near as entertaining as a full tournament.

For those of you familiar with the District Model, look at it this way:

From my point of view, the DCMP Playoffs are much more exciting to watch than a theoretical playoff system where the winning alliances from the districts competed*. And it wouldn't even be close. The reseeding, redrafting process raises the bar significantly; the best alliances get a lot better.

And that matters if we are trying to hook in the average Joe/Jane.

As to putting yet another burden on teams, yeah, I hear you. AND I think that a lot of teams would find a way to make it happen. I wouldn't be opposed to backfilling with Divisional Finalist if that is what it takes to fill out a tournament. The impact on the level of competition at the FOC V2.0 would be minimal. For the first few years, it may mean that well-funded teams have an advantage over less well-funded teams but I'd get over it**.

Longer term, if the TV (or Netflix or Amazon or TBD streaming for money service) concept works out then there would potentially be money to subsidize teams that attend FOC V2.0.

FWIW, how does the Little League World Series work? Do they get funding to attend or do they have to ask parents and sponsors for more money?

Dr. Joe J.

*forgetting for the moment about conflicts where teams win multiple districts.

**and it is not like this is the only advantage well-funded teams have over competitors -- FIRST is not fair. This should be news to exactly nobody.
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Unread 09-18-2017, 12:54 PM
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Re: Festival of Champions V2.0

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Originally Posted by Joe Johnson View Post
FWIW, how does the Little League World Series work? Do they get funding to attend or do they have to ask parents and sponsors for more money?

**and it is not like this is the only advantage well-funded teams have over competitors -- FIRST is not fair. This should be news to exactly nobody.
It's been years, but my brother's all-star team made it to the Little League regionals, and it was totally funded by parents, fundraisers, and sponsors. It was pretty cool, they had a Major League pitcher donate all their jerseys (a team dad happened to dig the foundation to his house). The names, numbers, etc., were all stitched on, which was pretty neat for kids that age. We chartered a bus to Indianapolis, got to tour the Speedway, the team members traded a bunch of pins, and then promptly lost two ballgames to be eliminated. I don't think the next level would have funded teams to attend, but I'm sure the parents, town and business sponsors would have supported it somehow.

I also think at FoC level that some of the "fairness" can be reasonably ignored. For example, instead of seeding matches just seed with a lottery and pre-draft alliances. Then you could pretty quickly be into the tournament, saving everyone some time. By the FoC, everyone should be able to scout each others abilities well enough to make selections. Of course, you'd still have 2-3 practice matches to calibrate, test the field/robots, and knock off the rust.
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Unread 09-18-2017, 02:49 PM
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Re: Festival of Champions V2.0

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Originally Posted by Joe Johnson View Post
Second, in the early days of FIRST, Dean Kamen included in almost every speech he gave that his vision for changing the culture was to get FIRST on TV so that kids would dream of becoming engineers & scientists in the same way that they dream of becoming professional athletes. I drank that Kool-aid. I STILL believe in that vision
I mean hey, ESPN aired abridged stuff from championships in the 90s, but who knows how many people watched it? From what I've heard, ESPN didn't really like airing robots and events plastered with other sponsors for what they were being paid to air it and raised the rates in the late 90s, which is why it stopped happening.
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