FIRST losing sponsors?

I’ve read in previous threads that some big companies such as Lockheed Martin are dropping sponsoring FIRST teams.

Is the FIRST program (both in running the competitions itself and for competing teams) losing sponsors?

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The questions are pretty broad… Assuming you’re talking about FIRST HQ:

Here’s a comparison from two recent years for HQ’s financials.

Given that FIRST does not provide funding to teams (rather, teams pay FIRST to participate), I’d imagine there’s no causal link to team funding.


First doesn’t provide a lot of direct funding. But a lot of sponsorship money for teams go through First as a sort of clearing house. One advantage for the sponsors is they do not have to track the money which is tax deductible to them to be sure it is truly “charitable”. Companies reevaluating their giving to First will effect these funds.

There is always competition for these sorts of funds. One of the jobs for team is to be sure the companies know the value being generated by these contributions. They are a lot of other worthy causes they can contribute to.


A more broad question that might be worth discussing is “are companies reducing donations/sponsorships for things generally, and if so why?”

There has been talk in the media of questionable economic conditions on the horizon. If companies are pulling back from supporting various causes, it might be indicative of economic conditions more broadly.

It would be interesting to look at data on this kind of thing and see if there’s a broader trend, or if topics like the Lockheed Martin thread you mentioned are just examples of individual companies/industries encountering financial problems, or just re-evaluating their priorities.

Concur, there’s correlation.

I can’t say I’ve heard of any broad reason that FIRST would be singled out for reduced sponsorship of recent. Would be surprised to hear that’s true.

Broader economic forces do impact this giving as well.

If I were a betting man, this is where I’d put my money. Corporate giving priorities can appear quite fickle, often because they are.

Here’s a year-old report showing trends are up. I’ve not seen a report for 2023 and, since a lot of this giving is seasonal, I suspect “real-time” metrics aren’t quite as meaningful as full-year numbers.