Can you opt in later if in-person comp happens?

Our team has decided it would not be worth our resources to do any of the proposed 2021 competition options. We did however discuss that we would like to take part in in-person competitions but we cannot find if you are able to opt in later. Would we be able to pay $5,000 later if our area is able to do competitions? I am assuming priority would go to teams that signed up for INFINITE RECHARGE at home.

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Answer in FAQ here:

Can teams play official in-person events later if they don’t register as a FIRST Robotics Competition team?

  • No, teams must be registered and secured in order to play official in-person events if/when they are offered.

Also, is your math including this year’s NASA grant? Criteria are much wider than normal…

Yeah $450 won’t get us far. It would still cost us a lot and it wouldn’t really be worth our materials we already have. We would like to do something this year but it seems unlikely that we will be able to participate with FIRST for 2021. We are focusing on coming back strong for 2022.

You probably already did this math, but just wanted to make sure you’re using the correct numbers.

It’s $2000 to register for the virtual and awards portions as well as get the Kit of Parts. There will be an additional fee for any in person events.

So with the $450 NASA grant (which you are guaranteed if you apply by the deadline) the cost for the online portions is $1550, not $5000.

It was fun to compete with you all last year and we were excited to see how our improved robot stacks up at yours in the skills challenge. Hopefully we’ll see each other at MURA


With COVID we lost a lot of events that funded our team for each season. MPS is virtual until further notice and we are unable to be in our building until school is in-person. We haven’t been able to work on our bot since March. When lockdown happened we were in the process of making improvements for North Star and so we ended up having to leave the robot completely apart. We would love to take part this season but it is seeming unlikely. Hopefully we will be able to swing by MURA and check out what everyone else is up to!

Yes you can opt into in-person events later, if they do happen. You’ll have to pay that $2,000 in addition to the in-person event fee, what ever that may be.

The original question was whether you could join in-person events later if you do not currently register. In response to that question, this reply is incorrect. Please see the link to the FAQ posted by Siri in the first reply above.

This post is correct in that if in-person events are able to happen in the future, you will have to register (and pay) for them at that future date.

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I see nothing incorrect about my statement. No you can not play at an in-person event w/o registering and paying for your at-home fees. However the deadline for registering and securing your team has a very soft close.

From the FIRST pricing and payment page:

“FIRST will continue to work with teams on an individual basis after the Payment Due Date to help them make their payment. Missing the Payment Due Date does not mean teams have missed their chance to participate in the upcoming season but may lead to them getting their Kit of Parts late and having less opportunity to get the most popular FIRST Choice items.”

In other words if in-person events are announced you’ll be able to call up HQ and secure your team. Yeah you’ll loose out on getting anything decent from FIRST choice but believe me if you call up FIRST and say I want to give you $2,000 + in-person fee they will take it and give the team a spot, if there is one available.

Maybe you have more information than the rest of us… what’s the difference between “Payment Due” and “Registration Closes”? They are separate items on the official season calendar. It would seem to me that a team would need to be registered before registration closes on 11/16, even if they continue to work with FIRST past that date to secure payment. What’s the point of having a registration deadline if you’re just going to blatantly ignore it months later?


I don’t know, but FIRST has done so in the past letting veteran and rookie teams register past the deadline as well as second event registrations just a few days before a Regional started.

Now more than ever FIRST is going to bend over backwards to retain teams and take their money.

Or if you want to hedge your bet register now and don’t pay unless in-person events take place.

Yeah my take might be a little cynical but fact is FIRST is facing a revenue and team count drop and if you say you want to play they will say Visa or Mastercard?


Just to be clear though, this is all your speculation, right? Do you have sources for this from anything FIRST has actually said or is this just your thought on how it will play out?


Perhaps… But they can’t offer spots to teams that don’t exist, and if people don’t sign up now, there won’t be spots open for them to sign up for later.


It is my thought based on how FIRST has operated in the past.

Yes if massive numbers of teams take this approach then it certainly is a possibility that there may not be enough spaces.

However if an area decides to have a in-person events it won’t happen in a vacuum. No RD or district leadership is going to make the call to have an event w/o polling the teams in the area. Just because it is possible for an event to be held does not mean that teams will be approved to attend events. So yeah part of making an event happen will be trying to contact ALL the teams in an area and see who wants to attend an in-person event and can actually get approval to do so.

Because teams will think they need to pay you today for something they don’t really want, to have a shot at something they do want to pay for in the future?

My (mostly uninformed) guess is that FRC has probably not turned away a team willing to pay for an event with open slots. To your point, things are very different in 2020 so maybe they will do that this year?

Well put.

I do know of more than one occasion where a team has registered and payed for a later week Regional the week of the event. Yes it was an additional play, but fact is FIRST was happy to register them and take their money after the official deadlines have past.

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That was for an open slot in an event for a team already registered with First, not an uncommon occurrence. Virtually no incremental cost to First. An apple but not an orange. Registering a team after the registration deadline has passed is a much more uncommon occurrence. I have heard of it happening, but that was more with team expressing the desire to register, but having trouble with funding.


$2000 - $1000 voucher from not being able to play last year - $450 NASA grant = $550 (or $1000 if you don’t get the NASA grant), not an enormous sum for most FRC Teams either way. I don’t know how great the FIRST challenges will be–we’re interested in 2 out of 3 of them–but as far as a pay-to-play outlay goes, the per-student cost of this year’s program is really rather small.


I agree that registering a team after the deadline has passed is not nearly as common.

However the underlying point in all of this is that FIRST has made theses types of accommodations in the past, during times of growth. There is no reason to believe that FIRST would stop doing such things given the current situation.