VEX Robotics Out, FIRST Champs In?

I could not find another topic like this so I decided to create one. As far as I know, the location for the 2021 FIRST World Championship(s) has not been finalized. And as some of you may have heard, VEX Robotics has recently moved their world championship from Louisville, KY to Dallas, TX, through 2024. This leaves a week in April open at the Kentucky Exposition Center, which I think would be the perfect place for the/a FIRST 2021 World Championship. There is plenty of room in the venue and the city to host a world championship, and hotel prices are reasonable in that area. Louisville is also located in the center of the FIM, Chesapeake, Mid-Atlantic, North Carolina, Indiana, and Peachtree districts, which would make it a reasonable drive for a lot of teams. What do you guys think? Is Louisville a possibility for FIRST champs? What other cities might FIRST move their world championships too, or will Houston and Detroit continue to host FIRST champs?

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Hotels could be tough for that venue. SkillsUSA holds their national champs there, but they’re done with Kentucky after this year, and moving to Atlanta. When Skills does the KEC, all the California students stay at the Golen Horseshoe across the Ohio river on the Indiana side due to insufficient Kentucky hotels. It’s about a 20 minute drive to the KEC from there. Also, Skills is way smaller than FIRST. Also, flights to Louisville are expensive and not direct, but flying into Nashville is great and it’s an easy drive north 3 hours to KEC. I would not mind this venue one bit, and Kentucky Kingdom is cool for the kids (Skills takes over the park one night) . However, Freedom hall is too small for Einstein spectators. I think it’s only around 9k seats.

As a volunteer, unless it’s within an hour’s drive of my house (New Orleans’ Mercedes Benz Superdome, cough, cough), I don’t care where it is as long as there are scads of [cheap] flights to a nearby airport and scads of [affordable] hotel rooms available in walking distance.

If South Champs is moved to Kentucky, West Coast teams will be loading up the Power Cells, and the robots, and as many other Objects Allowed to be Thrown as possible with their robots, and staging an invasion of New Hampshire unless North Champs is moved somewhere closer than MI.

I think a lot of us out here are hoping for something that might remotely be driveable in a day. So far, that’s been Houston, at 2 days.

I personally suspect that the announcement will be at either Houston or Detroit.

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Let’s remember that 2Champz was announced via email blast and YouTube about two weeks before St. Louis. I bet the same or similar will happen here.

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Betting you are right and betting that we move to 4 champs to double the inspiration again.

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I loved VEX Worlds in Louisville, but it was not easy to get to if you were not flying cargo. I think that Champs should be in a place (domestically or internationally) that is a major airline hub. Houston and Detroit are good options for this. For this reason, I think that these would be good locations:

  • Atlanta
  • Los Angeles
  • Dallas
  • Chicago
  • New York
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle
  • Houston
  • Detroit

Personally, I would love to see Champs or Worlds internationally, Vancouver and Toronto both seem like great options. I think that the US is a larger logistical challenge for international teams, since the US either has great or problematic relationships with countries, and I remember hearing a couple of years ago that some people couldn’t get to the US for Champs. I am not an expert on Canadian foreign policy, but I think it would be easier for people to get there. In addition, a lot of FIRST teams are in the US and VEX has done a much better job at expanding internationally in my opinion. If FIRST hosted a championship internationally (or even one in the US, one internationally), I think it would be a signal that they care about FIRST succeeding outside of the United States. FIRST Global being in Dubai seemed to work well for FIRST Global, and despite the very annoying time change between Dubai and San Francisco (which resulted in me not being able to watch matches live), I think FIRST should evaluate a championship outside of the US.

I think that it could work well in:

  • Canada
  • European Union
  • Switzerland (harder to fly to)
  • United Kingdom

because I think they would be accepting of most teams.

I would love to see something like Houston and Toronto or Charlotte and Vancouver, but I think it is likely that it will stay Houston and Detroit. This is because FIRST seems to want to put their Championship in districts, and Houston and Detroit are easily accessible.

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Einstein in an appropriately sized venue is my dream. Freedom Hall at the KEC would be perfect. There wouldn’t be a bad seat in the house either.

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IMO part of the consideration is probably the ease of international travel with Houston and Detroit. I don’t know how easy it is for international teams to fly into KY. I am sure someone else can weigh in on that.

As far as a championship held outside US I think that comes down to the number of teams in the US vs other countries. I don’t know that my district would approve let alone financially be able to send us overseas. As an alternative we could host a US Championship and a European Championship then the Festival of Champions for winner take all.

Travel to Canada is not so easy as you might think. Every member of a US team 18 or older would need a passport. (If you don’t have one, that cost is $145). Then there is the issue of your equipment. Several years ago when we traveled to the regional in Mississauga, we had to have an inventory of every single item in every drawer of every tool box. Doable but a real pain in the butt.

On the positive side for Toronto (I am very partial to traveling there), there are tons of hotel rooms from $100 CDN and up. There are so many things for students to do. Playdium (if video games are your thing) Royal Ontario Museum. Ontario Science Center. Hockey Hall of Fame. CN Tower (every team should pool their money and have a mentor do the Edgewalk). Retail therapy off the charts. Broadway theater. Concerts.

The combination of the Rogers Centre (50k+ seating) and the Metro Toronto Convention Center is killer for a venue.

Just saying…

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as a near charlotte resident, i dont honestly believe we have anywhere large enough for a world championship. we could certainly hold a regional. but worlds is probably beyond us

Call me one-dimensional, but I still think anywhere that wants a championship event should be prepared to show how they can host a proper Einstein—and to me, nowadays that means an NHL/NBA arena in decent proximity to the convention center for all intents and purposes. I know it would take an almighty feat of negotiation to potentially displace a playoff series (or worst case even two), but it’s only for one day and I want to will it into existence because it is logistically possible. The shortest turnaround between two consecutive games at one venue in those series is two days, although many series have a three day turnaround anyway, and the two leagues’ schedules are offset by about three days. That means even in the arenas that host two teams* at worst case, you should be able to shift the schedules forward or back to leave one predetermined Saturday open.

Detroit and Houston both fit this bill. If you want to look internationally, so does Toronto. Atlanta, New Orleans, Las Vegas, St. Louis (I know), Washington, Denver, Dallas, New York, Columbus, Indianapolis, Cleveland, and Salt Lake City are the rest of my shortlist of the places that qualify.

Okay, end rant. I just think the students of this era deserve some semblance of the same sense of amazement that I got at the championship 2012-2015. If we have to live with 2 champs for the foreseeable future, I’d like to see that made up for somewhat with a really well done Einstein setup, not this everybody-grumbles-but-maybe-it’s-good-enough deal we’ve had lately.

*Sorry, Los Angeles, the Staples Center is probably out. I don’t think this is practical with three teams.

Sign me up.

Okay, I would get this if you were @GeeTwo, but context?

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It’s NOLA. I can’t like NOLA?

Yeah, for sure. You do you.

(If there’s one thing I know, it’s that Marshall always does Marshall)

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Welcome to the struggle of every international team every year. Add to that, we need to get visas to go to the U.S., which usually take a month, and when you win in week 6 and champs is two weeks later…

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So we go across the street to whatever-it’s-called-currently Live! Problem solved. (Note that all non-playoff matches get played in the Convention Center.)

(That, and for playoffs… likely only 1 or maybe 2 teams. Bonus if Lakers and Clippers are playing each other and somebody uncovered the Taylor Swift banner to jinx the Kings.)

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