Any ideas on luring teams to an off-season event

We are hosting the 2nd annual Battle for the Bluegrass on October 31st. We had 14 teams last year and everyone left pleased with the way we handled the event. I was hoping that we would exceed last years team count, but it is lagging at this time.
Any ideas on getting commitments to attend. I’m worried we are going to lose so much on hosting that it will bankrupt the team this season.

  1. Find local sponsors to help lower the barrier to entry (costs) for teams. Three or four sponsors each putting up $500-1000 will help you out a lot.
  2. Word of mouth through other teams about how great your event is.
  3. Invite out of state teams, not just the local ones. Seek them out specifically and invite them (Trust me, it works!)
  4. Get Nate Laverdure and Matt Lythgoe to put mentors from other teams in a headlock until they agree to come back (Trust me, it works!)
  1. Get the event date out as early as you possibly can. You can see from the graph, because we got the date out almost a month earlier, and before school let out, we had more teams register very early than we did the year before.
    http://i.imgur.com/joCumke.png

  2. Market, market, market. Make sure people know about your event. Build a contact info database and get the word out. Repeatedly. Reach out to teams you personally want to see at your event. Our goal for the Rumble in the Roads is to have every team in the Hampton Roads area at the event. You can bet your butt I’m contacting them until they give me a good reason for not coming.

  3. Offer discounts. Last year we offered discounts to the control system beta teams if they were willing to set up a table to talk about the new system during the event. This year we offered a discount if you also attend another off-season event. If you know of a team that wants to come but just can’t afford it, work with them and offer a discount for providing a certain number of volunteers, or staying after to help pack the field up.

  • all of Marshall’s suggestions.

As a rookie team, we really want to participate to off-season events… Our only problem is that we don’t have a robot and that or budget is very low. Maybe you could work something out for rookies?

This is also something we do each year. We’ll try to find practice robots from veteran teams attending the events that are willing to work with a pre-rookie team to help them compete. In the case of no extra robots being available we’ve asked teams to partner with the pre-rookie team and both compete with the same robot. Along with providing the robot, we allow pre-rookies to compete for free.

Just curious, what have you done so far to advertise the event?

You could always declare 2nd robots free (but subject to “the boot” if more 1-robot teams happen to show up). That should give more robots.

The “volunteer bounty” can work pretty well, too. (Discount for certain key volunteers)

Offer “fun” stuff that isn’t necessarily competition. Say, obstacle course, HP competition, or similar items. (I bet the words “mentor” and “match” used together would get some pretty enthusiastic response… just a thought…)

If there are any other local or semi-local offseasons, hand out flyers to teams in the pits. In the future the same can be done at official competitions.

Two things you can do:

Provide training sessions for teams (and then recruit teams to present) - all of the teams involved (including yours) have built in CA benefits. In MN, MRI and Mini-Minne offer such events…

Also, contact you local administration and find out which rookie teams are In Your area, then team them up with a solid veteran team that may have a practice robot. Two registrations straight away.

Also, keep in mind that you may have to eat costs the first couple of years until you get it going. Once it is established, the teams will see the value…

Cake usually lures me to any event.

Cake, pizza or free stuff (free inscription would be cool :slight_smile: )

Play a game that’s worth playing

A mix of 2013 and 2014 :slight_smile: Blocking frisbees with totes!

FTFY.

Did someone say corn dogs?

A website with all of the information a team might need to know about the event is also a good thing to have.