2021 Championship Locations Announced

CD Community,

FIRST has announced that the championship is slated to stay in Detroit and Houston for the 2021 season. See www.firstchampionship.org for more info. Personally, happy to see it stay in Detroit. What’s everyone else’s thoughts?


Not pumped about Detroit. Nothing against the city but just not a fan of the venue. Playing “championship” matches in the concrete jungle of the pits just isn’t the same as a professional sports stadium.


Can totally agree with this, although I am happy with it staying in Detroit for other reasons. The loss of Ford Field is definitely a down fall.


We’re a Houston team, so I have no dog in the hunt for questions about Detroit. However, more philosophically, would teams like an opportunity to experience different cities by changing up Champs locations every year or would they prefer the comfort of a familiar city and venue?

As a Michigan team, it’s understandable that you would like the Detroit location. The logistics for getting a pit and team across the country or across the world to attend Champs is a burden, especially for a late qualifier. Being able to treat Champs like a district or close-by regional event would be pretty nice. There is a flip side, though, in that going to some far-away city is kind of exciting and might make a very vivid and long-held memory for students who may travel very little.

I’d personally like to see the Champs cities changed up every year, but it’s not really any issue if they linger in one city for a while either.

I’m not going to weigh in on the issue that FIRST has confirmed another year of split Championships, but I’m sure there will be others who want to.


Personally think a move to Indianapolis would be smart. I like the area around the convention center in Indianapolis WAY more than Detroit and the food truck game in Indianapolis is above Detroit as well.


You weren’t going to get that no matter what city hosted it. They’ve moved away from professional locales.


Anyone willing to donate some pit spaces for a honeywagon rental for Detroit?


If you had to suffer through the disaster that was Minute Maid Park you would not miss “professional” sports arenas one bit.


My impression is that Ford Field was much better, was it not?

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Though not perfect, Ford Field was a lot better from a spectators perspective than Minute Maid. I just remember people fainting in the security line at MMP the first year in Houston, and then everything being confined on the base lines of the infield which was very silly. The kids on the team preferred the Detroit experience.


I preferred the GRB over TCF exponentially but Ford Field was way better than MMP by miles but to be rid of MMP Ford Field had to go too so it was a necessary sacrifice to be made.

From the drive team perspective: We were on Carver in GRB which was the farthest field from the pits. We were on Carson in Cobo and it was just a walk under the stands to the field in no time at all, which is how most of the pits were in Cobo.

The kids also liked the opening celebration in Ford Field (personally I liked the outdoor venue in Houston better on the park). I wonder if they’ll have to move that from FF or if it stays?

2017 had a way better setup for pits-field interaction in Houston. It was not fun 2019 trying to get from the pits to the field, even being on Turing (pretty sure we were the closest to the pits?)

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We NEED Toronto champ.


Complete speculation warning:

I’m thinking that FIRST might have had intentions of changing locations for 2021 but hadn’t put any (or much) money down. I’m also thinking that FIRST had lots of non-refundable costs associated with the 2020 Championship. Finally, I’m thinking that FIRST took their money down with venues and contractors in Houston and Detroit for 2020 and “postponed” the event to 2021, for the sake of not losing as much money.


You’re not allowed to make that much sense. Stop it.

It may also be possible that they’re still working on the plans for post-Detroit/Houston and this buys them time–Atlanta got a few 1-2 year extensions as I recall before St. Louis got the event.


It’s worth noting that there are not very many stadium/convention center combos around anymore. I believe, if I’m not mistaken, those are Indy, STL, and Atlanta. Atlanta was a great champs venue, but the walk between the pits and fields was monstrous, and now the new stadium is even further away. The future of the St. Louis dome is sketchy at best, without an NFL anchor to help the city pay for upkeep on an aging stadium. That leaves Indy. I’ll explain in a bit why only having one or two venues available to suit your needs can be not so good.

We have to remember that our needs for a championship venue are rather unique in the convention planning world. Obviously doable, but not just any convention center is going to be able to fit our needs. You also have to look beyond just the venue, and also look at hotel availability, transit, etc. We also need to consider venue availability; FIRST’s window of availability is extremely narrow, with at best three weeks out of the year to work with (late April). Beyond April comes AP testing, finals, etc. And every one of these factors narrows the field even further.

This is why I believe the convention center model is here to stay. Only a couple cities with convention centers (that are big enough to hold us) that are attached to large indoor stadiums, and with our incredibly narrow window of availability and high list of needs, sticking with the dome model eliminates FIRST’s bargaining power. With more venues we consider viable, the harder they’re going to work to earn our business, and the better experience we are going to have. If there’s only one or two places we can go, there’s no competition amongst cities and venues. If there are two cities with our preferred model (arguably the only two are Indy and STL, unless I’m missing one), and only one is available in our required time window, they have a monopoly over our business. But with a dozen or so viable venues, now they’re competing to earn our business, and that puts FIRST in a bargaining position. Now, that doesn’t mean we totally eliminate the football dome possibility, but we need to be open to both, we can’t just stick to our guns and say “football dome is a must,” because it’s just not realistic.

So that was a really long way of saying: the convention center model is here to stay, and that’s okay! (and I actually kind of like it, despite trepidation early on)


How often do concerts and stuff happen to keep it around? I realize the XFL is probably dead in the water, but surely the stadium gets some business every year.


Too close to IRI, the better world championship

Not sure, but surely they aren’t bringing in as much as when the Rams were there. That’s a pretty big facility to maintain on just a handful of concerts and conventions. I could be wrong. I don’t live in St. Louis, nor am I in charge of the convention center, so I admit I don’t know all the variables. But I do know the Rams demanded a new or updated stadium, and St. Louis didn’t want to front the money to do so. If they couldn’t afford to even renovate the stadium when the Rams were there, I don’t see how they can even afford to maintain it much longer without a major anchor. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s not torn down within the next decade or two unless something changes.

You are correct. So did St. Louis, actually. The original St. Louis contract was 2011-2013, and if I recall correctly, there was at least one extension and then a rebid process where St. Louis was chosen again for an three-year contract. I don’t remember where I read it, but I remember Detroit and Houston (among other cities) being on the shortlist for the 2015-2017 contract, but don’t quote me on that.

It’s always good business sense to put out for rebid every few years. Companies will always try harder to earn your business than they will to keep it. You can usually get a better deal if you go through a total rebid process, so extending current contracts through 2021 in order to give them time to go through a bid selection process again makes a lot of sense. Even if you’re perfectly happy with who you currently have, put out for a selection process every few years, because you just might find a better deal.