CHS New Championship format


80/129 teams at DCMP is definitely on the high side, but not the highest. Israel this year had 45/68 teams, which is almost exactly 2/3 of all teams attending DCMP.

Coming from MAR with 45% of teams attending DCMP, I personally like the easier-to-qualify championship. It means teams get more opportunities to play, and spectators get to see a wider range of robots in one competition. Cutting off the bottom third of teams removes the majority of the teams with non-operational robots, but leaves the mid-level teams that deserve a chance to compete at a higher level.

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Personally, I don’t mind the increased DCMP size, but I really dislike that there’s two divisions. I wonder if anyone has considered running a two field, single division FRC tournament, FTC/VEX style. Field reset/load robots on one field while the other plays.


MSC ran this format with 100 teams and a 16-alliance playoff bracket prior to the switch to divisions in 2017. From what I saw, it looked like torture for the scouting teams, as the turnaround between matches was very short.


FNC actually qualifies a little less than half (approx 45%) of the district’s teams (data from


MSC ran this in 2015 and 2016, and switched to divisions in 2017. These were my last sophomore-senior years, and I gotta say, I liked the divisions better. I was worried about not getting to play with the majority of Michigan teams as well when the switch happened, but realistically, divisions made it more enjoyable for me. While the single-division-105-team DCMP felt a lot more grand, it was logistically way easier to run divisions (I seem to remember being at the Deltaplex til almost 10 PM on Saturday in 2016, might be my 3-year-old memory exaggerating to me, but it was very very late). All the teams you want to watch play will still be there, you can still see them play, you can still visit their pits. I think switching to divisions and allowing more teams to play has greatly improved MSC as an event.

Mostly though, divisions are good because more teams get to attend. In my time as a student, I watched MSC go from 69 teams in 2013 to 160 in 2017. Even from 2016 to 2017, the year that it switched, the event saw a growth of 54 teams, which divisions made possible. That’s 54 more deserving teams that got to experience the next level of play in FIRST.


I didn’t understand it either until I read this position paper. In particular, the section titled “How does the money flow?”. As in the days of Watergate, you always need to “follow the money”.

I avoid organizational details of how FIRST runs, but this was still a fascinating read. (Admittedly, I probably wouldn’t have bothered if it wasn’t written by our head mentor.) To summarize, each team in the district paid $5000 for their first two district events. FIRST national kept $4000 of that money and gaves back $1000 to the CHS District to help cover expenses of running all the district events (including the district championship). Each team qualifying for the district championship paid $4000 to FIRST national, who kept all of that money. “Therefore, of the total $877k paid in team registration fees, just $131k (15%) made its way back to VirginiaFIRST to pay for execution of the FIRST Robotics Competition program in 3 states.”

Starting next year, CHS gets to keep all of the $4000 entry fee for teams registering for district champs over some minimum number (possibly 58 or 64). So, for an 80 team district championship, CHS gets a minimum of 49% (or a max of 67%) more money from FIRST. Once you understand the way the money works, you realize CHS is incentivized to pack in as many teams as they can. If the financial relationship between FIRST national and CHS district was more equitable, this incentive might not be as strong. But with FIRST keeping most of the money while CHS has to do most of the work of holding events, that extra money becomes critical.

It also explains why the FIRST Chairman’s award, the highest award in FIRST, is given primarily for increasing the number of teams that register. And also why FIRST wants to encourage the transition from the regional to the district model. FIRST national gets to keep almost all the money those teams pay in registration fees, while the districts have to do almost all the work to hold the events.

When you follow the money, a lot of strange organizational decisions suddenly become a bit more understandable. Unsurprisingly, this is another life lesson taught by FIRST which has wide application in the rest of life, including business and politics.


I agree with Todd follow the money.
My initial reaction, why so many? However the increase in $ coming back to the District makes it easier to understand. I for one would like to see the time when district competition costs are easier to accomidate. Lets face it few if any teams in the district find funding the program easy. If we could add teams to the competition and cover some of that cost from doing so, I’m very interested.
Another point to that is follow the data. borrowing on some CD info is see this. I’ve added some growth for next year and the 80 team concept. A point I see as needing some explaination how do some districts get such a different percentage of total teams in the World championship?

District Teams Dchamps Worlds Percentage of Teams in DChamps Percentage of Dchamps Making Worlds Percentage of teams Making Worlds
Chesapeake 127 58 21 45.67 36.21 16.54
Michigan 542 160 87 29.53 54.38 16.06
MAR 128 60 21 46.88 35 16.41
NC 70 32 15 45.72 46.88 21.43
Indiana 57 32 10 56.15 31.25 17.55
Israel 66 45 11 68.19 24.45 16.67
NE 203 64 33 31.53 51.57 16.26
Ontario 173 80 29 46.25 36.25 16.77
Peachtree 85 45 17 52.95 37.78 20
PNW 151 64 31 42.39 48.44 20.53
FIT 183 64 38 34.98 59.38 20.77
Chesapeake 130 80 21 61.54 26.25 16.16

South vs North champs.

There’s a smaller team pool eligible for Houston and a fixed champs size, so the districts that go south get more slots.


Wow, this is actually really interesting, I didn’t realize that they were trending so far in the red. Do you know when would data for 2017-2018 be released?

Anyone have any data on other Districts? I’m curious how this compares.


Yes that, but why? I may need to review data to determine if FIT altered that much. Then maybe consider what a California district may do to skew it?


I don’t, I just started putting together tracking a week or two ago.

If you click through to the Google Sheet there’s 990 data for all the other US districts in tabs. I haven’t tried to get data on Ontario or Israel yet.

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This is in the IRS’s domain. Usually there is about a 2 year delay from when it is filed due to staffing issues. 2018 should be out in like Dec/Jan from what I recall.

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One thing that would be interesting is a “classification” of sorts for organizations that are fiscally responsible for multiple programs and if there is any data that can be pulled out for the execution of those programs.


Wow, this does not paint FIRST Chesapeake in the most favorable light(at least from a layman’s view). I wonder what accounts for the disparity in the different organizations. NE seems to be in a similar boat as CHS, but PNW and FiM really seem to be thriving.


CHS bailout when?

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I implemented the divisional distribution algorithm and ran on 2019 CHS, here’s a comparison of (one set of) hypothetical divisions with DCMP:

Division Team Lists
Div A Teams Div B Teams
116 122
339 346
401 384
422 449
611 539
612 540
614 620
619 686
836 1086
888 1418
977 1599
1111 1610
1123 1727
1262 1731
1413 1895
1629 2028
1719 2363
1793 2377
1885 2849
1908 2914
2106 2988
2186 3136
2199 3359
2534 3455
2537 3650
2912 3748
2998 3939
3072 4099
3274 4456
3793 4472
4242 4638
4505 5243
4541 5338
4821 5546
5587 5549
5724 5957
5830 6334
6239 6543
7770 6802
7886 6882

Here’s all the data for it.


I’ll take the bait. Which year did you attend and what was “interesting to say the least” about VEX Worlds?

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This wasn’t intended as bait, Karthik. Sorry for being vague. What came to mind what the MS competition 4 years ago (I think it was 4 years). (side note: The design convergence by collusion or by inspiration turns me off to the smaller format robotics events. This is not limited to Vex competition)

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