How often does FIRST want teams to advance to a Championship, and why?

I heard somewhere it was supposed to be something like once every 4 years but I really want a source for something I’m researching.

1 Like

Correct, old HQ blogs around the time of the ChampionSplit announcement mentioned it. (2016 or 2015 timeframe.)

The idea is that all teams should be able to make it to Champs at least once in a student’s high school career, for maximum inspiration (ahem…) or something like that.

Our plan right now is to have 400 FRC teams attending each of the two Championships, for 800 teams total. Assuming only a modest 6% growth in FRC teams in 2016 and 2017, the total number we will have when this second Championship becomes active in 2017 will be about 3,250. This means that about 25% of FRC teams will be able to attend. I would love to have every student on every FRC team be able to attend a FIRST Championship at least once in their High School FRC careers. Increasing the number of teams attending gets us closer to that.


This just in: all FIRST does is fiddle with the sliders (registration cost, robot weight, # of championships, length of Dean’s speech, etc) until the lil inspiration number output reaches a peak.


In the late 2000s timeframe select teams were able to register for the FRC Championship at a premium. Somewhere around $10,000 iirc. I forget if this was rotated around every four years that the opportunity was extended to teams to provide teams with that experience.

Any old CD threads about this (or did it have some name for it that would be searchable?) Very interested to see what the community reaction was to it at the time.

how often

as often as they can, while still convincing teams that it is a championship they want to attend

and why?

$5000 registration fee


For a bit of context of why I’m asking for those curious, I’m basically researching the following few points:

  • What’s the goal of having FRC teams advance to the championship every 4 years?
  • How can we use this information to build a case for expansion of FTC championships?
  • What are the downstream equity/accessibility/sustainability impacts of advancement slot crunch?

We should of course acknowledge that, even if the Championship capacity is 25% of total registration, there is no way that all teams can or will attend Champs every 4 years. I don’t know the statistics, but a wild guess says that ~30% of teams at Champs are there pretty much every year (and they deserve it!), and another ~30% are there half the time (or so).

The serious underdog teams get to go to Champs only if they are lucky (unusually successful year, 3rd pick robot, etc). Even the Champs lottery slots, of which there are only a few, favor teams which have not gone in the last 5 years.


I thought the super regional model for FTC was the better direction than larger champs.

My thoughts: stop making champs bigger - let’s bring the champs experience to more places. District championships should be how we deliver The Champs Experience™ to every team.

Let’s ignore qualifying for champs for a moment: it’s really expensive to go to champs. Bringing The Champs Experience™ to multiple locations makes it cheaper and more accessible.


Oh yeah I 100% agree – the thing is, from what I’ve heard, FIRST saw supers as really expensive, which is a darn shame, because the program could’ve used more than 4 of them. The program I graduated from benefited from the Supers experience the same way we might expect teams now to benefit from The Champs Experience™

I wonder if a better approach would be to go slightly smaller, maybe in the ballpark of 48-64 teams, such that they could be held in the same venues as large state/regional championships, with similar logistics.

I don’t believe this is true. For quite a few years after the transition to the qualification-model for Championship (2004), there were a number of unfilled slots at Championship that could be filled by any team registering and being selected off the wait list. This was the typical cost of Championship event registration ($5000). As far as I’m aware, there was no other method for paying a higher registration to auto qualify.


I am very interested to understand, in FIRST’s thoughts, what exactly the best way to deliver the Champs Experience is. Re-reading some of the blog posts I get somewhat of an idea of what they think is “good”, but comparatively little info connecting the current structure back to these good-aspects.

Some personal thoughts:

Effectively Celebrating Accomplishments is more readily accomplished by complete-togetherness than more robot matches.

Effectively Inspiring is more readily accomplished by production value and unique experiences involving your robot, rather than complete-togetherness.

Proposal that’s probably already out there, but I wanna put it down on paper anyway:

Do the Katie thing - make a bunch of mini champs. 50 teams, 150 teams, whatever works. Doesn’t have to be massive. Just enough to be inspirational - like most competitions already are. Keep what’s good!


Make a Summer Expo. Make it like all the really fun parts of one-champs. Free concerts. Speeches and meet-n-greets. Set up “booth” locations where teams can bring their robot, polish it up, show it off to other teams. Corporate sponsors show up and show off their latest tech and hand out internship offers. Colleges show up and do their scholarship things. Tech talks, local food trucks, all that jazz. Maybe even a few robot champs match to crown an ultimate victor from all the “smaller” champs events. Make it go from Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon, to try to make sure folks can travel as easily as possible. Make it somewhere pleasantly warm, so people can enjoy the weather. Make scholarships available to try to help students who ordinarily couldn’t afford to travel. Make discounts for when teams can sign up multiple students and travel together.

No pressure, no obligation. Just an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments with as many of your peers as possible. Let the actual competitions do the Inspiration, and size those however practical. Punt the Celebration to something better sized for celebration.


The problem with certain regionals is that certain teams always lose to certain other teams. 696 has been to Champs twice in 20 years, and not for lack of trying.


I am probably getting it confused with the waitlist system in place then, I wasn’t a mentor during that time so I obviously wasn’t registering any teams. Just information I’ve heard from mentors on two teams who did it in 2008 or 2009 mixed with the same four year tagline. Registered for the Championship and Registered for Championship waitlist being two very different things.

Your post gave me an idea - what if there was a competition style that promoted teams based off of objective qualifications that reflect skill over the course of all of their regular in-season events and not whether they were one of a handful of teams to win an event or get a special award?

Being from California, I don’t really know what this would be, but I feel like such a structure could have a lot of potential. :thinking:


I dunno man, coming off of 7 consecutive regional wins I see no possible issues with the current system in cali.


I guess this is kinda related but also not:

What does the “We would like to be mentored by another team” on the Lead Mentor Dashboard do?

I believe it contacts your Regional Mentor/ insert actual title here, who will help find another team to help you.

I don’t have any evidence that this is FIRST’s reasoning, but a big benefit of most teams going to Champs every ~4 years is that that would mean most students get to go at least once.

1 Like