District vs Regional

As team 4061 looks forward to the Pacific Northwest District Championship, I wonder what the teams think of the district model.
For me

  • get to play a lot of matches for little money
  • miss many of the teams from Idaho and Montana
  • like out of bag time before a district
  • short time to prepare for worlds if we make the cut
    What other ideas are out there?

How exactly does the district model work? Could someone explain it briefly?

Smaller venues, fewer teams, shorter events, but you get two events instead of one for the initial registration cost, with a third event costing only $1,000 more. You accumulate points at the district events (and 3x at the district championships) instead of qualifying on the spot for the world championships.

A couple things I don’t like about the districts are that District RAS, EI and Chairman’s don’t get to compete with their robots at District Championship, but do get to take their robots to the FIRST Championship if they advance from their district championship via award.

I feel like advancement between districts and district championship should be just like advancement between regionals and the FIRST Championship, with points used to fill extra slots.

I also don’t like that the district championship costs an extra $4000 entry fee, especially since all that money (apparently) goes to Manchester and not towards the cost of running the event.

Short qualification windows between the district championships and the FIRST Championship may mean that not all teams that qualify may not be able to attend the FIRST Championship.

Otherwise, I’m generally happy with what I’ve heard about the district system. I’m sad that I’ll only be able to (potentially) participate as a mentor/volunteer.

The short amount of time between week 6 events and NE Champs and then the short amount of time between NE Champs and St. Louis is horrible. We’re lucky enough to be a Chairman’s winning team, but everyone else won’t know if they qualify for NE Champs until Saturday, four days before NE Champs. How are they all supposed to coordinate getting absences excused, work taken off, rides coordinated, and hotels coordinated (if needed) in less than 4 days, along with getting ready for the competition itself? And then if you qualify for St. Louis, you have about a week to prepare for a large trip probably involving flying and hotels, missing three days of school, and shipping your robot. It’s absolutely ridiculous. I feel bad for the teams who are on the border of making it to NE Champs right now, because they are going to have a rough four days of preparation.

More money needed to make it to championships

Actually the Chairman’s teams DO get to compete with their robots at District Championship (at least here in PNW) I tend to also wonder why the extra fee is the same for a regional yet the District bears all of the cost of putting on the event. Just remember that from what we have been told, the District ALSO pays for the cost of all other District events with the $5000-6000 initial registration fee also going to New Hampshire.

However, to put this in perspective, ALL regional event work the same way, the money goes to New Hampshire and the local regional event coordinators must fundraise to put on the event.

The District system seems to be working pretty well but that is due to the enormous effort put forth by volunteers both at the administrative level and the event level.

Little can be done about the short time frame… PNW District coordinators have tried to help in all the ways they can (purchasing airline tickets, arranging for pit equipment shipping, etc) but it is tough.

It would be different if we could drive to St. Louis.

I think the PNW district volunteers have done an incredible job this year and that the kids are greatly inspired. The major benefit is the number of “winners” that you really get. 10 events where we had 4 before, a chance to play for the District Championship (an extra winning opportunity added to CMP) More inspiration and more chances to play… I like it

A great resource for questions about the district system is this paper by Jim Zondag.

I short, team compete at two events with a maximum of 40 teams per event for the same cost as one regional. Teams then accumulate points towards qualifying for the district championship based on performance and awards (point system). At the district championship, the point values are tripled, and the top teams then earn places at the world championship.
Teams may compete at more than two events, but only receive points at their first two. I believe extra events cost $500 in Michigan.

In a nutshell:

Districts are great for students (playing two districts, more rounds played and 6 hrs of robot work in between districts)

Districts are a financial nightmare for the team in general. Of course, I am speaking from the experience of a rural team with no major corporate sponsorship (we have no corporations in our town). We rely on grants, school district and parents to fund the program. This, of course, will have to change.

Our program went from $9,000 a year total (travel, fees, food, shirts) to over $18,000 this year. I have talked to FIRST headquarters and they call it ‘growing pains’. Wonder if FIRST is weeding rural teams out??? Or will corporate teams be the only ones to survive?

MAR sort of fixed that problem this year by having the last district event in Week 5. Larger districts that run on venues with tighter schedules obviously don’t have this luxury.

Why would you wait until the last minute to do it? Take care of things ahead of time and plan to attend regardless. It’s a lot easier to cancel the plans if you don’t qualify.

While this is good advice, it doesn’t automatically solve all the problems. Airlines and hotels can have cancellation fees. School districts can be uncooperative relating to missing school on short notice. Missing Thursday-Friday for DCMP, then missing Wednesday-Thursday-Friday for CMP is hard on any student/employee. One team in New England attended 2 Thursday-Friday events, and likely missed 5 days of school in 2 weeks. If they had qualifed for DCMP, that’s another 2 days, and CMP would add 3 more, for a total of 10 missed school days for the season. Looking at money, it now costs a minimum of $13,000 to go to CMP(up from $9,000 in regionals) plus travel.

If I remember correctly, the justification I heard for the increased cost ($13,000 vs $9,000) was that on average the teams that attend Championships originally were attending at least two regionals. I would love to see the data behind that. 13K is a lot.

You are also guaranteed at least 24 matches (12/district), which for a team that doesn’t make worlds, is a lot better value.

No doubt. I love the value of district play, especially the $1,000 for the third event.

The same thing happened to us. We are a small team with relatively few sponsors, but this year we raised the most money we ever have before. We thought we would have more than enough money for the season, but now if we make the cut for district championships (which seems likely) we will be completely broke.

Last season, about 29% of regional-only teams attended 2 regionals. Anyway, the argument you just cited is circular logic: Teams that only go to one regional are more likely to be unable to attend CMP if they qualify(I would think). Those teams don’t go, and the slots are filled by teams who can go, many of which go to multiple regionals.

So the district model (Base, no 3rd or 4th district events) would cost you $14,000 for the season. $5,000 registration (includes your two qualifying district events), $4,000 DCMP, and $5,000 CMP. If your team, before the district model, attended 2 regionals and CMP a year, switching to the district model saved you $1,000. (5k x 3)

Now, I have no idea what your team’s situation is financially or location-wise, but the district model offers more events, thus increasing the odds that one or more will be close to home (no hotels/long bus rides). Maybe I read it wrong, but I cant figure out how switching to the district model doubled your yearly expenses.

I am not sure what you mean by an increased cost?

I guess if you are speaking of going to CMP after attending only one regional the registration cost would be $10,000 total (assuming you are not speaking of rookie teams)

$5000 registration and $5000 for CMP

The cost for attending 2 regionals is $9000 and this is what it costs to do 2 district plays and the District Championship.

Of course if you qualify for CMP at District Championship the amount goes to $14000 with the registration for CMP.

I agree that this is a great deal of money…I just am not sure what you mean by the increased cost?

In Districts we get 2 district events for the price that any other team has to pay for their first Regional event.

I guess I can see how it would cost $9000 to just get to the District CMP where you could qualify for CMP … and in the past you could qualify at a single Regional event…for $5000

Is this what you mean?

I don’t have the data on CMP and the average number of regionals that are attended by the participants… I could not find it here on CD I think it is here somewhere.

I would imagine that the average number is pretty close to 2… a number of teams do 3 and all District teams do at least 3…to get there…

I think it is the same… 1st regional is $5000 (non-rookie) and the 2nd is $4000 with CMP being $5000

same $14000

Or did I not pick on an increase in the cost for the 2nd regional this year?