[FRC Blog] Event Preferences Update

Posted by Frank Merrick 9/25/17:

Event Preferences Update
Written by Frank Merrick

As of last night at 10 PM, 2,226 teams had submitted event preferences. This is 80% of all teams that are ‘Event Ready’ meaning they have completed all requirements necessary to let them submit their preferences.

Of those that submitted, 46% preferenced a single event. The rest preferenced more than one. The record holder at this point? A team that added 11 events to their preference list. OK, they may have been just kicking the tires on the new system, with thoughts of trimming that list down later, but if they stick with having 11, I’ll bet they find an opening somewhere!

Don’t forget, the deadline for preference submission is Noon, Eastern Time, this Thursday, September 28th. Noon, Eastern Time. Don’t know what your local time is when it’s Noon Eastern Time? Try this calculator; just add your city.

Also, we have updated the User Guide and FAQ to reflect a recent good question we saw about the relationship between preferences made during the first round and preferences made during the second round. The answer is: there is no relationship. First-round preferences will be wiped clean before the second round preference period is open.

Happy preferencing everyone! Remember to work toward getting your preferences in early so you can be sure not to be late!


Pretty sure every 2-event team in upstate NY listed only Utica as their first event. Really important to get on that waitlist early, especially since other events won’t fill as fast.

Wait, if almost half of all teams put down only one event, and some of those events fill, won’t that make a giant portion of teams sitting on a waitlist? Are you able to transfer your first pick to an open event on the second round?

Most events list open capacity around 75 to 80% of their actual capacity. I think the number of open spots right now has to be around 4200? If so, assuming that if the single preference demand was uniform, it would be no problem. Smaller regionals with high demand? That will be a problem. Big districts with evenly distributed demand? No problems… yet.

Yes, there will be a large number of teams on waitlists initially. Just look at MN - regionals that have maxed out for years at 60-63 teams each are down for 30-33 open capacity. The rest is reserved capacity that’ll be used for the waitlist.

When it comes to the second round, just add a second event if you’re still on the waitlist. You can always drop one or the other later when once you get in.

The thing that concerns me, personally, is how events will balance out. With both Minneapolis and Duluth being double regionals, there’s the possibility that one event will get significantly overloaded while the other just barely fills here in the first round. If the 123 teams that attended last year put North Star first on their priority list and 10K second, you’ll end up with North Star having 30 teams and a waitlist of 60, while 10K has 33 teams and an empty waitlist. The old first-come system really helped with that sort of balancing. I’m not saying we should go back to the old system, but once we see how things shake out, there may need to be some improvements (maybe a combined waitlist option for double events?).

Hopefully Frank and Co are watching this but I’d really like to see the percentage data about the number of teams that received their first preference for event selection once the first round is over. I suspect that will help make some of us feel more at ease with the new system.

That’s an interesting strategy. Not one that I thought about, and I wonder if FIRST anticipated that. Seems that a lot of teams would rather be waitlisted for their first-choice then be assigned a second choice. That makes sense if they can register for their second choice events in later rounds, and drop the waitlisted one if they don’t get in (or the other if they do). I predict this means a lot of waitlist shuffling happening at 10 minutes before the payment deadline.

Emphasis Mine:

My understanding was that if you don’t get placed at the event you selected as your “Allow Waitlist” option, you will be placed on the waitlist for that event and assigned to another event. Although I don’t really understand why anyone would select “Allow Waitlist” for any event other than their 1 Preference?

Can anyone shed any more light on this interpretation?

Wrong understanding.

This has been covered by Frank on his blog and the Q&A, but the system tries to register, then waitlist. That is, it will try to put you into Event 1, then Event 2, then Event 3…then Event N, and if it fails at putting you into Event N, then you land on Waitlist for Event 1.

So, let’s say you really want to go to Event X (your home event, across the street from your build site), but could probably put up with Event Y (50 miles away by interstate). You put Event X as your first choice, but you don’t put Event Y at all. If Event X= full, you go onto Event X waitlist. But let’s now say that you put Event Y on as your second choice. Event X is still full… but Event Y is not. Now you’re registered at Event Y, and no waitlist for you.

Basically, the teams are saying: I really really really want to go to this event, and because I’m pretty sure I can get into my home event, I’ll waitlist this one.

One thing I haven’t seen anywhere and didn’t really think about it until now:

will there be open registration for a single event after the preferences are filed and before round 2?

Open registration is after round 2 iirc, unless im misreading what you’re meaning.

I apologize, but I’ve read through the blog and FAQ and although I do see where it might imply a team won’t be waitlisted, I don’t see anything that clearly states they won’t. Furthermore, when I spoke to a FIRST rep over the phone, they stated that a team could be assigned to an event and waitlisted for another. I just sent an email requesting clarification, and will share here when I receive a response.

I was wrong.

Did you read the user guide?

All teams will be randomly assigned a lottery number. Teams will keep this lottery number throughout the event selection process for the season. After the preference deadline, the system will go through each team in lottery number sequence, registering the team to the first event with available capacity in the order of the team’s event preference list. If none of the events on a team’s list has open capacity, the team will be waitlisted on the single event they have identified as being their preferred ‘waitlist’ event (or the first event on their list if they do not specifically designate a waitlist event). So, every team that has entered a preference list for this first round will either be registered for an event or waitlisted for an event.

I think it states very clearly that you will either be registered or waitlisted, not both. If that is not the case, then I think many teams would put more items on their preference list.

You know, I thought I saw that it was open between the two in a blog somewhere, but I can’t find anything proving that. I would suspect you may be able to contact FIRST, but it does not seem like you can do it from within the system.

It’s in this blog: https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/frc/blog/event-preference-system-and-dlc-pack-1

emphasis mine

Thank you for the help everyone. I was wrong, and am doing the same thing as everyone else that is only listing their local event.

Teams will then be notified of their first-round results

So, will that happen at 12:01? It says after the deadline, but not how long after.

From the initial blog post, it will be tomorrow.

September 29, 2017 – Teams are notified of the first round event preferences results

Got it, thanks.

OK, but AFAIK event directors have discretion on who they pick from the waiting list. Since the waiting list isn’t first-come-first-served, teams have just a good a shot at their “home” (or whatever important) event whether they apply (and are waitlisted) in the first round, or add themselves to the waitlist in the second round. If so, what’s the harm of adding more than one choice in the first round?