Entry costs

I’m just curious: What does the 6000 or so we pay for entree fees give us? It can’t just be for the kit of parts and registration, can it?

I’m sure that some of the money that teams pay goes towards paying for all the field parts and booking the location for Championships.

And then what about the $5000 you pay to GO to Championships?

Obviously by then FIRST has already booked the venue…

Well, I’m assuming it just contributes to the next year’s expenses, seeing as you have so long to pay your base $5000 entry fee, there’s no way they use the money that people pay late in the year to buy thousands of kits that are ready in the first week of January.

Venues and associated venue use costs for regionals and championships are not cheap! This was in fact a major catalyst for the transition to MAR in eastern PA, NJ, and DE. The price to put on 2 regionals in New Jersey and in Philadelphia was something along the lines of $400k.

Since your registration includes one regional, and a second regional costs $4000, I think quite a bit of it goes towards the regional costs!

You know… there are a number of things that the entry fee can be used for. And, believe it or not, not very much makes it to the regional level, at least in the past it hasn’t.

First, registration and the KOP. That’s an expensive two boxes of parts, and not all of it can be donated. Some of it is reduced cost, some full price. Plus shipping. (Anybody who wants to come up with an off-the-shelf price for the KOP, go for it.)

Second, fields. The fields and their road cases take abuse during the season. This has to be repaired, and then the field components have to be put in for the next year. Oh, and field shipping/storage.

Third, R&D. Gotta mock up game elements somehow. Ditto for testing KOP technologies.

Fourth, overhead. This would be rent and utilities at HQ

Fifth, Salaries and Travel. FIRST does have paid staff, and at least in the past they’ve paid for key volunteers’ travel on FIRST business.

But before I go any further, might I interest you in looking at the most recent Annual Report and Financials, located at http://www.usfirst.org/aboutus/annual-report-and-financials? That would be a good way to find out where registration fees end up going.

Entry costs aren’t always directly attributed to costs of putting on the event. A lot of KOP stuff is gifted to the teams, and some venue costs are cut down by sponsors. A little of your fee goes back to HQ, but I wouldn’t be surprised if companies that board members of FIRST run (like Coca-Cola) aren’t chipping into that pot.

When you are renting a venue for FRC, you are renting what is usually a prime convention/convocation center or sporting arena inside of a major city, over a weekend, with venue staff and utilities.

That’s a big number. Crazy big. Then you multiply by 2-5 times in a a single region… it’s bad. Sometimes there are too many of these big numbers and alternatives like FiM and MAR are made to offset having to buy out 6 large venues for 10 low cost venues and a big ticket one.

TL;DR Districts are fun.

How did I get back on that topic again?

Actually, running HQ is quite the burden, and making mostly unique fields year after year (and making almost 2 dozen) is big money.

That answers my question. Thanks Eric and everyone else!

Just to add a little to this discussion…

As a member of a regional planning committee, please know that we have to fund raise the total cost of the regional. That amounts to fundraising of $250K to put on the regional in our area. I am not sure what costs are covered by these expenses as FIRST tends to dictate what revenues are needed to put on an event with no detail on the expenses for the same regional.

However, looking at the financials you see about $17mm in the bank and another $8mm in pledges.

There is not enough details in this poor excuse for an annual report to make any judgement about expenses and profit.

However, I do question the increase of $6mm in costs from 2010 to 2011 for putting on the FRC programs. Seems to be very excessive at first pass.

actually…your entry costs go to pay for the operational budget for FIRST. ie. paying for headquarters employees, operations, fields, kits, etc.

The regional are almost completely up to their own to raise funds for venue and such. Thank your regional staff…they do a lot.