#MakeitLoud Ideas...

So, Deans speech…one of most to the point and moving speeches I’ve heard during my 5 years attending CMP.

The urgency is clearly notable and we as the CD community realize this. So I wanted to start this thread in the CMP section but in general I want this to be a collaborative thread for the ideas we can contribute to making FIRST much much “LOUDER” by teams working together.

Of course the first thing I’m going to say probably can’t be done by teams but rather by FIRST itself.
I’m sure this view has been expressed a lot in the championship suggestions thread but my family and team agree that this is a very important issue that needs to be addressed.

First off, I like that NASA streams and puts our event on NASATV.

Now here comes my argument…

How many average citizens have a subscription to NASATV that they can get with their current package or get for free in addition to their current TV package.

I took a poll from people living near me, and the numbers came back just as I thought. 1/60 people in my area in SC have NASATV as a part of their cable/satellite package. Now while I know that the streaming is an option for anyone with an Internet connection…here’s my thought that has been shared among many whom I’ve spoken to.

WE NEED ESPN BACK. I don’t even necessarily think it has to be ESPN, it could be CBS, FOX, ABC…whomever. There needs to be at least one day of sports style coverage of the championship event…even if it’s only finals day. This would be a great step towards getting FIRST out there…

The televised event gave FIRST some momentum…but I think we’ve made a step in the wrong direction by letting that momentum die out…

I agree. FIRST (especially champs) needs to be more accessible and visible to the general public. The thing with NASATV is, that even if everybody has it, how much of the general public actually pays attention to what is on NASATV? I think what’s going to help is having people from the mainstream entertainment industry (Will.I.Am, for example) involved and mainstream media (CNN, Fox, ABC, etc) involved as well.

Add me to the can’t-get-NASA-TV crowd (I have the otherwise entirely good AT&T U-Verse U200 package; NASA TV requires U300.) That said, I got four or five channels of concurrent Masters coverage a few weeks ago; each channel followed a pairing.

We now have Time Warner Cable and Comcast on board as a Strategic Partner and Championship Sponsor, respectively; they are #1 and #2 in the United States. There is no major sporting event going against Championship; why aren’t we pursuing those channels? Why aren’t we manning cameras during finals of regionals and districts, stitching them into one-hour chunks, and getting it out there on demand and on YouTube?

If The RoboShow can cover Orlando so thoroughly, I have to think a smaller, not-live version can be made to spread.

Warm up the machine, build the following, THEN go after the heavy hitters.

Fox is starting a new channel in August called FoxSports1 which is supposed to be a competitor to ESPN. Because ESPN already has contracts with most major sports, foxsports1 is having to pick up less televised stuff. Maybe FIRST could contact FOX and see if they’d be interested in broadcasting champs next year? I’m sure they’ll be eager for programming their first year especially since ABC has NBA rights at the same time as champs

The biggest problem is formatting. there will be over 3,000 FIRST teams next year, assume the average team plays 20 matches in a season, that’s 120,000 minutes or 2,000 hours of material. Not only that though, you have other things, designs, strategies, and more that you need people to be interested in.

Of course, finals are easy to cover, elimination matches are about as long as a normal sports match, an d with time in between matches you can cover backstories and other things that draw people in.

Don’t get me wrong, my ultimate goal is to get FIRST back on television, but we don’t have the infrastructure yet, we need to be more ready to get it there.

There needs to be a way to get everything on demand for people who don’t know FIRST. We need some sort of comprehensive competition base (think websites for the NFL, NBA, or NHL) full of information. This is much easier done for those sports for 3 reasons.

  1. Only about 30 teams, 100th of what FIRST has
  2. Every human body is basically the same, there’s no need to explain why you chose your arm or any aspect of design
  3. The game doesn’t change every year

So how do we make it happen? We need ideas. That’s what I’ve been working on for the last month or so and will continue to work on until we’ve made it loud.

While it’s absolutely necessary to get Champs on a network like Fox Sports, ESPN, or Discovery, but maybe we could get Google to have FIRST TV as a network that’s a part of the Google Fiber subscription.
Broadcast all the practice and Friday quals on FIRST TV and then have the big-time network pick it up on Saturday morning.
I mean, to an outsider, our practice and quals are about as meaningful and exciting as practice and quals for the weekly NASCAR race.

Why not get Google to sponsor the webcast and post a link to it on the front page on the Saturday of Championship with the logo changed for the day. That would be one way to get the word out to millions and millions.

That said, I remember the 2011 Einstein was awful because it was crippled with requirements for TV shows and the like (no music etc…). If FIRST wants to make it loud for the world, they need to make it just as fun for the participants.

Talking about television coverage can be fun. However, as members of FIRST teams, we are all acting as agents pf the organization as well as the teams we represent.

I think a big issue in FIRST is that the competition is not an inherently accessible thing to attend. Like Dean said, we have forgotten to invite everyone. With a few exceptions, the most accessible part of FIRST, the FRC’s events, are held in environments that are contained by regional organizations under the advising of HQ. Sometimes it feels like the competitions too frequently run in parallel to what is happening in the event’s city. In Richmond, we shut down entire parts of the city for road races, the circus, summer concerts, and other events, but it is hard to get people to take item out of their day to go see an event like this without any personal stake in it or any guarantee or security of an expected value of entertainment. You can go do demonstrations in your community, and be in parades, and start FLL teams until the cows come home, but how are we getting people to show up?

I haven’t seen heavy discussion on this, but when Dean talked about making FIRST loud, he talked about how he and HQ are going to implement a system where teams can submit a 2 minute video showcasing a compelling story about themselves. This is great! I loved this so much! I don’t know how many sports fans we have in the CD crowd, but I love sports. Sure, I have my favorite teams and favorite sports, but what makes me watch them is to see documentaries like ESPN’s 30 for 30 series and all the great pieces put together by NFL films and going to see the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame… it’s not just “not about the robot” for FIRST, it’s how the sport isn’t the result on the field, but the people and the stories that come from them.

I finally got some friends from a school without a team at any level to come to a competition in my senior year of high school and they loved it, but we don’t talk about how the team does. We talk about the stories. We ended up watching i.am.FIRST and the Education in America special. Those are the stories FIRST needs.

We can assemble all of these pieces together as teams, as regional boards, etc, take them to a production company, and sell the idea of broadcasting the world’s best kept secret once again.

The movement is going to be hard. Starting FLL teams? Demonstrating the robot? That’s important, but it’s going to look like child’s play in comparison to how you can breach the wall of pop culture with an initiative like this.

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I’m working on something pretty cool, but I have to keep it under wraps for now… :wink:

Great idea! CMP could be hosted live on YouTube. Imagine the exposure to millions of YouTubers with the “Watch it Live: FIRST Robotics Championship Event” banner on the top of the home page…

Remember that broadcast of MSC from Detroit Public TV? That’s what we would want to see from an ESPN or Discovery Channel or ABC or anyone else. So FIRST HQ and teams and volunteers, let’s take that broadcast(I believe some version of it is posted online) and show it to people. Show ESPN, show Google, show your local access TV station, and say this is how you can do it. Tell them about the great stories that come out of FIRST and the exciting matches and frantic races to fix the robot on time.

Most people think robots are cool. If I knew nothing about FRC and was just flipping channels last Saturday night and I saw robots shooting frisbees and climbing pyramids, you’d have me. I would turn up the volume, call over anyone else in the house and say “Check this out! High school kids built these robots and they’re competing for the world championship.” And I think a lot of others would do the same.

A question we need to ask ourselves is how to we sell FIRST to the big networks? What is going to get them high amounts of viewers? If we were on ESPN again how many viewers would tune in to see the event?

As Dean and Woodie stated there are now over a million members in our organization, how do we tell the networks we’ll get more views then the shows already playing?

Here is some data on number of viewers for Friday and Saturday this past weekend:


Those numbers are for prime time shows past 8pm but they are consistently above 1 million viewers.

Just some food for thought.

Broadcast TV doesn’t have music requirements, just like radio stations don’t.

I’d like to just bounce off Billfred’s post by saying FRC robots are definitely more exciting than watching the Masters.

…and the Masters is shown on every major sports network around the entire world.

We’d be selling profits, not viewers. Since FIRST events are free to specators, we can’t charge a TV network for the rights to broadcast. Since they’re getting the broadcast for free (minus production costs**), they get to keep all the commercial revenue* (minus production costs**).

Also see http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1261833&postcount=36 for some of my other thoughts on this subject.

*Unless, of course, they choose to donate some of it to FIRST.

**Simulcasting the FMS feed with the house announcers shouldn’t happen. The network should produce their own feed with separate announcers.

Like everyone else I am totally on board with the idea that we need to be shown on a larger scale by a big network. Comcast has a partnership with NBC so maybe something could happen there. I would love to see all the district championships broadcast on a big site like Youtube. If we could get someone like NBC to broadcast all of the last day or even just the four division championships and Einstein I think we would be able to really get out there. Another big thing would just to get all of the sponsors to put something up on their websites to direct more traffic to the finals.

Another thing I think they we really did to do is get more celebrities like Will.I.Am to spread the message of FIRST. I remember in 2011 they had a whole big thing where they had a ton of celebrities make little videos saying how awesome they thought FRC was. If we could get more famous people to go out and spread the word then I think we could really grow and one day members of FIRST will become the new celebrities.

Things to note already from this thread…

The YouTube idea…I really like that. If the bored “masses” got on YouTube one day and saw huge banners and a feed from a FIRST Championship event…chances are people would begin to realize who we are.

Secondly…I’ll share my vision of what a Championship television show should be like…

Start out the cast with a familiar sports cast personality or a voice that america is familiar with. Have them explain and show the game animation."
Then the fun begins with a rotating back and forth between a few qualification matches in each division and some team interviews in the pits.
You could even start the program with a breakdown of the entire FIRST family of programs current year breakdown…but I think the televised event should primarily focus on FRC because it is the…“flagship program”

Keep in mind I’m sayying that logistically…I actually favor FTC…so I hope I’m not offending anyone.

The primary focus of the show will end up being on the divisional elims and Einstein. With “in the que” short interviews during field resets.

simple enough format…and I think having some FIRST alum who’ve created projects like this already need to take a major part in this…Mike&Justin…TheRoboShow…etc…

Not my idea, but I heard it bounced around in TRA chat room during Einstein and thought it had merit. So here you go…

Break a world record, or many.

The two I heard suggested were:
Longest conga line
Most self-proclaimed nerds under one roof

I hate that word…FIRST is about breaking stereotypes, not endorsing them.
Conga line sounds like a good one.

Actually. I believe you’ve that wrong.
The entire mission of first is take those “nerds” and place them in the celebrated and distinguished category in which they belong. To all cultures and to all people.