Fireworks at MMP

While watching the fireworks show at Minute Maid Park following finals this year, it occurred to me that there is an alternative to fireworks that would be more in line with a robotics competition: a drone show!

I know that Disney has been tinkering with drone shows for a couple of years now and given that Disney is a strategic partner, they could potentially develop a really awesome closing show for Championships. Heck, they could even include displays that invoke the new game theme that is released earlier in the evening.

I’m not sure I have seen an indoor drone show. I know there are issues with that given that the drones use GPS for coordination in the outdoor shows. But I believe that some people have come up with solutions to that by installing DGPS beacons or other localizer beacons in the stadium that the drones can use to coordinate their flight. But, assuming that they could orchestrate an indoor drone show, you could also do it at Ford Field or other indoor stadiums that don’t have a retractable roof.

So what do you guys think? Should FIRST replace the fireworks show with a drone show for Championships closing ceremonies?


I predict Minute Maid park will be removed from Houston Championship and so will the fireworks.
A lot of money is spent on celebration and I think the celebration money could be spent on more important aspects of the FIRST Championship event. I support reduction of celebration costs such as removing Minute Maid completely.


I counter-predict that it’ll stay for 2020, but the 2021 Championship arrangement (regardless of city and whether there’s one, two, or twenty of them) won’t have a comparable arrangement of 4-6 matches across FTC and FRC. I think they will figure out a venue where the round-robin can be held in the same venue as finals, which puts a lot more meat on the bone.

Where would you spend a) fireworks money, and b) MMP money?


I have mixed feelings on this. I acknowledge I’m in the minority here, but I still think there’s huge inspirational value in the spectacle and the show. Over the past few years, it seems like Champs, some District Champs, and other official events have all dialed down the production value. Less lights, less seating, and less of a show. I really enjoyed MMP and Ford Field this year, and I absolutely loved the finale at Ontario Provincial Champs. I think these are important parts of the FRC experience and I hope more events adopt shows like these, as opposed to dialing them back or avoiding them.


I agree with you about this.

In the two years I’ve brought my team to Houston the CMP…the “championship feeling” didn’t quite reach me until MMP. It’s amazing how different the experience I had as a student in Atlanta in the Georgia Dome…even the Edward Jones Dome compared to now is. I’m not even sure I see the logistical advantage of what we have now compared to what we had before. Maybe the reason for the change was financial, but I don’t know how the costs compare. All I can say is the spectacle is part of what I loved about the Championship. I guess I was lucky to be around for a lot of the cool stuff.



The Georgia Dome was incredible. It felt like Championships more than any other venue since.


I agree that making this more of a show is important but I would much rather the money go to better A/V than to fireworks. Once all of that stuff is good then I think we should start focusing on the spectacle.


If teams and sponsors are, long-term, still paying the money to support a flagship product at the flagship events for the flagship program, but don’t get it, the sport and FIRST will suffer.

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I consider A/V to be a huge part of the spectacle and the show, so I’m mostly down with this.


Disney has facilitated drone shows, but they are actually (at least the first one) done by Intel.

On the original thread topic…as cool as drone shows are. I wonder have if you’ve researched the technology behind music-synchronized firework shows… it’s pretty awesome. The show we have now is somewhat synchronized, but I’ve seen some really high-precision stuff that blows the mind. I’ve never seen drone shows live/online that come close.

The ONTCMP finale woke me up from my traditional mid-finals speech nap, and I wasn’t even mad… The pure magnitude of if really impressed me. The lights, the sounds conveyed that this is important stuff, and for first time since I won my first FLL competition I saw what I had seen in the recap videos, in the documentaries.

A finale doesn’t need to be fireworks or an analogue thereof, it just needs to be bold.


Oh, great, now we have to find somebody who works at Intel.


Paging @RyanN ask someone at work how we can get some drones

I’m in the wrong division of Intel, but I can always try and see.

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Do they? I didn’t think that GPS location was precise enough for that. I’ve always assumed that either they had a set of beacons on the ground and positioned the drones in relation to them, or that one drone in the formation was the “master” and all the other drones positioned themselves relative to it.

I googled around a bit and didn’t find anything giving details about how drones in formation shows determine their position… which makes me even more curious. So I’ll ask the collective brains of Chief Delphi. If you find something, please post the link here!

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FIRST Global had an indoor drone show.


I found some references that pointed to them using GPS for their outdoor shows which surprises me also, I figured the had some sort of array of fixed cameras to provide position feedback. For their indoor shows they use the “Intel Indoor positioning system” which appears to be based on a ToF radio system..

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2nd-year team grants that are given out to teams with less that (insert amount) of already existing grant and sponsorship money. 2-year is where teams really struggle with money in my experience of seeing other teams in my district.

These grants could be smaller in order to encourage self-funding. Another thing that would be great is a “general cost layout” sheet with all of the true costs to run a team issued to rookie teams along with a message of “get local sponsors.” Too many times I have seen teams rely on the grant money too much and struggle. A gradual withdrawal from the grants over a couple years along with the message of “be sustainable” would be better than the current system.

That doesn’t solve the problem, that just pushes it back another year.