Block seating for teams in division stands?

The rules for “At the Event” clearly state that saving seats is not allowed.

The teams in Archimedes (and I suspect Newton as well) that watched the opening ceremonies found that most of the prime viewing locations in the stands by those fields were occupied by “squatters” reserving blocks of seats for their teams. Some words were exchanged :mad: about the “no saving seats rule”, but ultimately these folks stayed put and were able to capture seats for the rest of their team’s fans. Not very nice for those who watched the opening ceremonies (at least the big screens didn’t display the ceremonies - according to a complaining squatter!)

As clever and efficient as FIRST is, I’m sure the organization can devise a means of pre-determining seating for teams in the division stands. I could envision a lottery, or first-come-first-served reservation system, or something based on team ranking, seniority, … whatever.

Any thoughts???

The no-saving-seats rule is a problem at every event. If you have a large team it is nearly impossible to get seats together unless someone saves them. You want to be able to sit together for team spirit. But more importantly, from a chaperone’s standpoint, it’s imperative that the team sit together. What about your pit crew who only makes the jog to the stands to watch each match? Do you not save seats for them? What about your teammates who are giving or attending presentations in the other building? Do you not save seats for them?

The no-saving-seats rule is a problem? Well, actually, it is just not enforced and that creates a problem for those who comply with the rule.

I’m sure all of the teams want to sit together - not only for team spirit, but also because it’s easier to keep track of the whereabouts of the students. The current approach seems to be common practice (albeit against the rules): a few people can stake out a large number of seats. Is is right for 4-6 people to claim 40 seats? Is that consistent with “gracious professionalism”?

I’m suggesting that FIRST devise a way to help ensure teams of block seating at their division fields (and around Einstein) by some predetermined method. This would reduce or eliminate some of the less than pleasant interactions that occur (I’ve seen it) when teams try to get seated after opening ceremonies. Even better, it will allow all team members to view the opening ceremonies.

Example: When a team registers for the championship event, the team provides a REASONABLE estimate of the number of attendees. After the last regional, when the divisions are set, FIRST designates blocks of seats on a team-by-team basis. FIRST should “pad” the number of seats allocated for each team (10-20%) to allow for unexpected guests, folks who want to see various teams compete in other divisions, etc. So, should the blocks of seats for teams be selected randomly? Or, should FIRST use some algorithm (perhaps not unlike the points method used as championship criteria in past years) to select seating? Should the seating change on Friday and Saturday (so you’re not stuck in seats far from the field on both competition days)?

Any better ideas out there?

It would be a great thing to happen but don’t you think that FIRST has some other stuff to worry about such as making sure no one gets hurt or the actual running of the competition?
MOE is a very large team, many times the pit crew/family/friends and visitors have to sit away from the team. Maybe someone can volunteer to coordinate this at each regional and each division and let FIRST worry about other issues. And if It doesn’t happen, then things will stay the same and there will be minor inconveniences, just like in real life.

Here is an idea that one of my family members proposed to be in Philly at the regional.
Teams “buy” not actually pay for but included in the championship cost, seats. Since we are in a stadium where the seats and rows are numbered it could be just like a sporting event where people sit where there ticket says so and teams make there own estimate on how many rows/seats they need.
I am not sure if I contradicted myself or not by saying that but hey, I’m sick you cant hold me responsible :slight_smile:

These are good suggestions to a problem that affects all of us. Sometimes we’re the “squatters” because we can get to the venue early and “stake our claim” to the number of seats we require; sometimes we are traveling a long distance by bus to get to a venue and arrive well after everyone else has gotten there and need to split up our team. Is it GP to save seats when the rules prohibit doing so? No. Are teams guilty of doing it? Yes, including ours. I think more teams are guilty than are not guilty, but that doesn’t make it “right”.

Perhaps when a team registers in TIMS for an event the system can be configured to assign seats in an area, like you suggested, similar to reserving seats for a concert, etc. But will reserved seats create more problems? Like many things in FIRST, there are no easy answers.

You know, when I was on a bus tour last year (and a few years ago as well) the tour operator assigned seats on the bus, daily. Each day, the seating changed by rotation so that at some point you would be in the first seat behind the driver and some other time you would be in the first seat next to the door. Maybe we need to assign and rotate so everyone has a chance to sit up close and cheer.

The problem with this system is if you underestimate the number of people going (our numbers were flexible until the last week), then somebody has no seat, and if you overestimate, then there are empty seats.


In some venues it might not be an issue because they are small enough that you can see well no matter where you sit and the only thing you might not like is sitting for three days on metal bleachers instead of in stadium seats. And you might be able to get up and go down and cheer close to the field when your team is competing. But larger venues do present unique challenges since you can’t go up close to cheer; there are “good seats” and “not so good” seats. Accomodating 85 teams on a field will be a logistical nightmare no matter what you do. Maybe they can rope off the prime seating area to accomodate 6 teams’ worth of people and another area for team scouts and everyone can rotate in and out of that area each match that they are competing in. But would that be “doable”? If a team has 30 people or more, that’s 180 people moving every two minutes.

How about a bunch of teams from a region gather enough monetary support from the area to build a FIRST Arena. The arena would have a large area for the pits - enough for approximately 50 teams (a good-sized regional). Additionally, most of the seats would be along the long side of the generic rectangular field. A really cool feature could be a 2-story pit area. The 2nd floor would be demonstrations for something or another and a large eatery. To top off the coolness factor, the floor would be transparent to allow people to look down on the pits below.

A grand vision.

However, until there are thousands of such buildings throughout the world, there will be seating problems and venue overcrowding. People will have to calm down and work out their differences. It shouldn’t be FIRST’s job to assign seats, they already come up with new games every year with rules that everyone already picks on.

maybe we ought to move back to the pre-2003 concept of rotating divisions:
(from this thread)

additionally, if the the rotation of fields utilized Einstein field, it would allow for more matches per team.

Something like this happened to me at PNW regional. I sat in some empty seats with some of our students and someone told us that we were sitting in a section “reserved” for XYZ team. My suggestion to them was that they should find seats somewhere else, since these were now occupied. It seemed to work out OK. Being an old, grumpy adult probably helped, too.

Maybe the section(s) closest to the field should be reserved for team scouts. Anywhere else is fair game for anyone. If a seat is saved for an individual, fine. If a block of seats is reserved, anything reserving it is piled onto a seat with a note about the rule. Either that or repeal the rule. I suspect that moving it into the GAME rule section or a section other than “At The Competition” might help too as few read the latter section.

When 433 went to get seats for the closing ceremonies, there was this huge gap in the stands so we went to sit there and we were told that the seats were saved for a team. And there were maybe 2 or 3 people sitting there saving 20 some seats. I can see maybe having majority of the team there saving a few seats for those back in the pits getting things together or the competition team, but having only a few people blocking off a lot of seats I think isn’t right to teams who get all their students together and then go find seats as a team. I realize that being a small team that is easier to do than for much larger teams. However, I don’t think there is anything that FIRST can do, or really is responsible to do about it, I think it is just up to everyone to decide when they are being rude to other teams. Just my observations.

Most teams have a pretty good idea of the maximum number of people that are likely to make the trip. So, the team submits that number and FIRST allocates a number about 20% higher to fill an integer number of rows (that span seats from the aisle to the middle of the section). Having a relatively small number of extra seats available to the team will give people some “elbow room”, allow for camera equipment, backpacks, scouting materials, give-aways, etc. without creating really large voids in the seating. Those extra seats will allow for others to visit with friends from other teams. Not to mention those who want to view competition of favorite teams in different divisions than their own team’s.

I like the idea of setting up a reserved area close to the field just for team scouts. My team had to sit a little further back than we would have liked and it would have been easier on our scouts to have had a better view. Anyway, teams dont have to be in the front row to cheer. :slight_smile:

Maybe I’m just way out of the loop here, but from what I can see, this isn’t that critical of a problem that FIRST officials must be involved. I highly empathize with you and not being able to stake those seats: it has happened to my team numerous times, so I do speak with some experience.

However, at competition, especially Nationals, as the day goes on, a team that reserves too many seats may see leakage into their chunk. If they’re not actually using those seats, they don’t tend to notice. Maybe I just sat by really nice teams, but everyone I saw understood the big team issue.

If you really want to cover this, it could be done at a “mentor meeting” or “team leader meeting” before the event. These things would be highlighted:

You can stake out a maximum of X rows in the stands. We will not monitor it, but that’s the polite allowance for your team.

You are responsible for being courteous to those who may need to sit down during competition.

Priority during finals for seats goes to teams competing in finals.

The last item is the one that could be most easily highlighted. I feel that a team in the finals, especially in a huge Championship venue, should have priority over front seats. Our team made it a point to move a few rows back when we weren’t selected to make room for teams who were selected to see better.

Good luck with this issue. It is best tackled with a planning committee or a meeting, not by creating a set of rules that will simply be resented and bent.

  • Genia

That gets my vote

Im not sure if I am remembering this correctly, but I believe ages ago, when FIRST was back in Disney, they actually had 3-4 rows of reserved up front seating or standing room (depending on the stage), and that section went to the teams that were competing in that round. As soon as your round was over, you were asked to move out and sit elsewhere.

I think this is a fair way to do things, and allows teams to sit close to the action. Some of the other ideas posted here are good as well.

We did have issues with seating as well, and as mentioned, we probably did break the “no blocking off seating” rule, but as explained, it was because we need to keep track of our students. I did have to explain to one of our chaperones that we really couldnt throw anyone out of our seating area, though, because of that rule (which is fair).

I guess my only issue is that my whole team couldnt sit together for the awards ceremony because we tried to find sections to sit in, but by the time our entire team could get there, other teams had filled in and taken all the seats around us… we won the rookie all star, and man would that have been a huge group hug had we all be together :frowning:

At Epcot, at the Einstein field tent, the fans for the teams involved in matches queued up in the standing room space just in front of the stage and entered from the right and exited from the left (as you faced the stage). Pretty entertaining in the quarterfinal and semifinal matches - a little like “ring-around-the-rosie”…

Galileo didn’t seem to have too big of a problem with seat reserving then again nobody has mentioned it till now so as for an answer there is known except what has previously been suggested. When You sign up your team for the Championship you enter X-Amount of team members and the last week before the event you Confirm those numbers, After that has been done upon registering in atlanta pit registration will assign tickets with numbers on it designating seat # and row # If you do this correctly you may have a chance in keeping your team together. Team Members doing Media for the team get excluded from the total amount of team members accompanying the team and will have to register the same way but will be stuck next to the field (basically anyone doing Media will take priority over teams).