High level international competition / Mini championship?

As we see more and more events taking place all around the world, it really feels like the FIRST community is slowly getting up to speed.
For team 1690, we just finished our 3rd small event in 2021 already, and started preps for a large scale regional-style event in July, the entire team seems reinvigorated and ready to work. Watching the Texas Cup made me realize just how badly I crave a competition where we can meet and play with the best of the best, and talks with other mentors and students of the team made it clear that I was not alone.
With COVID statistics improving all around the world and more people getting vaccinated by the day, it seems entirely feasible that by October(?) we could have a large international event. I was thinking something that resembles IRI, with a high level of competition. We can make efforts to have it in Israel in some way or another but it would be way more successful if some organizing body from the US picked this idea up.
This is just something that came up in talks among the team, not at all a finished idea. I was just wondering what the level of interest even is in something like this, and if there is any organization willing to make it happen (perhaps if enough teams showed genuine interest even FIRST could support this?)
Again, this idea gets thrown out the window if we see COVID resurging, but it’s just a hypothetical that I wanted to know what people thought about


If it’s held in a state where it’s possible to require the necessary safety measures for an international event, I doubt there would be too much of a hurdle on the COVID front. I think the biggest roadblock would be securing funding for the event in time, as well as arranging robot shipping for overseas teams. Funding may not be too much of an issue depending on the actual scale and venue of the event - if it’s 30-50 teams in a school gym, it might not be too big a deal. If it’s 100-200 teams in a DCMP/Championship sized venue, there’s going to need to be a very generous sponsor willing to pay for renting out that kind of venue. I’m not even sure where to start with shipping though, FedEx’s service appears to be a pretty generous donation with them providing worldwide robot shipping for teams attending overseas regionals and all Championship teams in a pretty timely manner. Is that something that can be arranged by individual teams or the event planners for a decent cost?

Despite that, I do like the idea if those issues can be overcome. An off-season championship is something I’ve wanted to see for a while, and while it pretty much existed with IRI until recently, it would be nice to see in the wake of the previous two seasons. If it happened, I would definitely tune in and maybe attend if it were close enough.

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It might be safe by October (maybe), but four months seems like extremely short notice to put together an international championship. The smaller it is, the more possible it would probably be (but also a little less fun). I’m guessing that big venues will be in very high demand for all the concerts, performances, etc that people have been missing for the last year (thus expensive, and maybe already booked up), and small venues like schools will be hesitant to commit to hosting when vaccination rates, case rates, district policies, etc for the fall are still uncertain (schools in my area are still very hesitant to allow extracurriculars to meet at all this summer, but maybe that’s biasing my guess).

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A question I’d be asking here is, is it really that much to ask to just wait a few more months past October to just start rolling with a “normal” FRC season again? There’d be that much more time for people to be vaccinated, there’s a ton of funding in place already for those events, and that many more teams will have had time to get schools back on board with the idea of extracurriculars.


Hard pass on any international events prior to 2022. Particularly any sizable events (and I count IRI as sizable). It’s not a particularly responsible event from a public safety standpoint, runs risks of numerous rapidly-evolving international travel policies, adds a whole new dimensions to cross-community spread risks well beyond what current events hold, and may not be the best use of local-organization resources. Additionally, any best-on-best or invitational formats are going to struggle to figure out who to invite in this season. How do you grade teams that haven’t played Infinite Recharge? How do you grade teams that only played infinite Recharge way back in 2020? Do you factor in the at-home challenges? Do you factor in the wide variety of off-season playing/field conditions?

Let local organizations focus their off-season resources on hosting events for teams in their area. Let teams get a chance to play Infinite Recharge at all. Let’s not divert resources (including venue availability and volunteer hours) towards a pie-in-the-sky event when they could be better served doing something for the teams in their immediate surroundings.


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