Alternate Championship locations

I thought the ceilings were higher, but I guess I just didn’t look up last time I was there. <20’ in most of the building.

Chicago is appealing as a World’s location for the same reason it was appealing to the people who founded the city. It’s a natural transportation hub. A map of FRC teams shows definite concentrations. Michigan, Minnesota, New England. All are an easier trip to Chicago than Houston. Florida is about the same. Southern California, sorry.

I would like to think that issues like setting up pits would not run into union difficulties. But setting up field and infrastructure would probably be off the table for negotiations. If there is a future move to Chicago expect a return to logistically simpler fields. No more Steampunk castles!

Selfishly I’d like to see Chicago get this. Whether as a volunteer or as a spectator/emeritus mentor this would be way easier for me.


I don’t think DES has a large space tall enough to set up stands.

As an aside, the way the Stephens family runs that town makes a fascinating study in converting political power into private wealth in broad daylight.


First strongworks?
First steamhold?

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Sorry, no direct insights for the venue. I only exhibited once (unrelated to FIRST) back when it was the Rosemont.

Not only is Chicago appealing for domestic travel (including highways), but it is also convenient for international travelers. As a destination city for travelers and conventions, Chicago is hard to beat when considering the combined effect of venue options, places to stay, transportation, and attractions.

Union labor costs are as real as the cost of FIRST salaries, ShowReady crew, and the costs FIRST incurs with other event costs. I agree union costs are also significant, but I don’t think union costs rise to the level of being a non-starter.

IMHO, the actual costs of the event boil down to the skill of the search committee to negotiate an acceptable balance between financial costs, FIRST priorities, funding, and personal costs to students. As Chicago rises in prominence as a player in the 4th Industrial Revolution, the push to enhance Career Technical Education in the secondary schools, the heavy concentration of higher education institutions, and the growth of large corporations (who, properly cultivated) could help sponsor a Championship, I think Chicago deserves serious consideration by the FIRST search committee.


You shoot 7 inches foam dodgeballs called mini boulders (oh no… Power cells) into the opposing alliances flying castle. In order to approach the flying castle you must breach ground and air defenses and takeoff (i.e. you can only shoot the mini boulders while not supported by the floor (you could hang on the existing castle pull up bars).

What a magical game that would be. Not sure what we do with the human player though.


Strap them to a roomba and they throw gears onto the field as extra obstacles.


As much as I would love World Champs in Ohio, we simply don’t have a building that will hold it. If the idea of splitting FLL, FTC, and FRC up was an option, the Greater Columbus Convention Center might hold one of the three, maybe FTC and FLL at the same time. But again, very very tight.

Our team extensively discussed this, as I posted in this thread (which is mostly filled with “Ohio is in the middle of nowhere” jokes, which aren’t wrong in this context :joy:)

The I-X Center on paper is listed as having a lot of square footage, but nothing that would work well for a Championship-style setup. Not to mention it is basically in the middle of nowhere so it’s car-dependant and hotel offerings are limited. (Hence why the jokes in the thread above are not completely irrelevant)

I still think FIRST buying an abandoned mall and converting it into a “Robotics Arena” with more than just FIRST operating inside it would be an interesting way to tackle this. There’s abandoned malls all over America, some for maybe around or less than the cost of renting out an entire convention center.

And we could have Champs in Ohio if FIRST did something similar to this. /s

Or, at least mostly /s.

Imagine if STEM organizations across the country came together to support this. There could be a Battlebots arena, an NHRL arena, VEX, and so on. Just something I’m throwing out there.

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Interesting thought, but I think this would require FIRST being run as a for profit business, not a non profit.

Those already exist. Battlebots has a permanent location in Vegas, and so does NHRL in Norwalk, Connecticut. Both of which are for profit.

It pains me to suggest as a Pirates fan, but what about Philly? It’s pretty big, has a lot of teams near it with FMA and Chesapeake district, and the convention center is big. Only problem I see is that it’s on the east coast, so hard for Western US folk.

Why would owning a physical location make them change from a non profit? They already own headquarters in Manchester and every Church/Temple/Synagogue is owned by a nonprofit. Not even to get into the nonprofits that are the major sports leagues.


The Philly convention center looks big enough but looks to lack the height for stands.

Houston is already a problem for western US folk, flying is flying, imo.

Similar threads or ideas as well

The one below was inspired by this thread…

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I can’t speak to the space since I’m not in the know for how much is needed, but I can speak to location (been living in the Philly area and involved with FIRST since 2002).

You will have some of the same union concerns that you have with Chicago.

Also, parking will be a huge issue, especially for buses and trailers. Center City Philadelphia is a nightmare parking and driving without a large event going on. Public transit is right there at the convention center essentially so that’s a plus, but any teams with buses or trailers to park are going to have issues - there are some surface lots in Center City, but they are tiny, and usually full. The hotels in the city are mostly going to have parking garages (all the ones I know have garages, but I may be missing some with lots maybe in the NE or out by the airport in South Philly).

DCMP for FMA are outside of Philly by about an hour and a half. There have not been FRC comps in Philly for over a decade (FMA people, correct me if I’m misremembering - I used to help run the Drexel comp back in the day, I went to one of the last ones at Liacouras when I was pregnant with my now 12 year old).

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Can’t +1 this enough. As a student I attended Champs in Atlanta and St. Louis, as a volunteer I’ve attended St. Louis and Houston many times. In all cases I was based out of Washington, and in all cases they’ve involved flying. Once you have to get on the airplane I don’t know that it matters too much where it’s going so long as there is enough flight capacity to get there.

The only small addendum to that is that historically PNW has organized a semi to transport pits to Houston. I don’t know what the cost of that is, or whether it would be feasible for an east-coast venue. Although the fact that Champs is later (assuming that sticks beyond Houston) alleviates some of the timing concerns that result from a longer drive.


I asked this of a friend of mine who’s a long-haul trucker. There are ways of getting it across the country rather quickly, it’s a question of routing and handoffs… and money. Of course the lower bound is roughly (distance in mi)/55mph.

(Yes, that was his “formula” – 55mph to factor in some stops, time between handoffs, etc.)

It feels like a good thing that long-haul truckers don’t use Cannonball Run assumptions for lower bound calculations.


This wouldn’t change their nonprofit status at all.

This was more of a thrown around idea, my thought was if there was a specialized “robotics arena” for hosting events like this that it would benefit all the organizations/companies involved, for-profit or nonprofit. There’s more than just Battlebots and NHRL out there, too. VEX, NRC, MATE ROV, etc. could get involved in something like that.

I enjoyed reading that thread, it’d be interesting if this was ever pursued as an actual idea, but the logistics are admittedly complicated no matter which way you swing it.

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A New England contingent did the same shared trailer for Worlds. Final cost round-trip was $47.55/sq ft and the mileage from Boston (as a reference point, though there were teams from a variety of places) is ~1850 miles. The coast-to-coast Canonball route is only about 55% longer, meaning it shouldn’t be cost-prohibitive.

Late reply here, but because of what is defined as St. Louis city (~286,000 people) vs the wider metropolitan area (2.8 million people), the crime statistics are actually pretty inflated in comparison to what people experience because the crime is very localized— which is a whole other issue we could get into regarding St. Louis history and redlining.

The point is, although St. Louis doesn’t have a venue yet with which to host worlds, I don’t think crime would be an issue, especially because in my experience people at FIRST events travel in large groups.

(And I do acknowledge that because of where I live in the greater St. Louis area, my perspective is coming from a point of privilege, but I think my point still stands regarding the flaws in just accepting the face value of the statistics.)

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