So we came home from both our regionals without any tickets to St. Louis.

We’ve been on the waitlist for quite some time, and we’ve never been to nationals before so just wondering: do many teams get in on the waitlist or are our chances pretty slim?


The number of teams to do so has been in steady decline for several years, with no teams coming in through the waitlist last season. This is due to the increasing number of regional events.

It’s hard to say how this trend will carry over to this year, as this year is both the first year of the wild card system, and the first year where no slots were open for open registration before the season began.

With the wildcard system (and more events), I think one can expect fewer waitlist slots than in the past.

This sounds like something Mark McLeod would be an expert on, check his previous posts or wait for him to possibly share when we get closer to CMP.

I would think that the wildcard system would call for fewer waitlist teams as well, but so far there haven’t been as many wildcards given out than I had thought there would be.

I think as of right now 276 merit based slots have been “spent”, meaning 46 competitions that provide 6 bids each have passed. There are currently 267 teams currently registered for CMP going into Week 6. When I looked last, I believe there are 30 teams that meet the prequalifying criteria and are listed.

This means 39 slots have already been bypassed, meaning teams that won them either pre-qualified, teams that won them did not accept them, a Wild Card slot would not have been created in the scenario (a team wins a tournament and an RCA/EI/RAS at the same event) or the Wild Card slot would go unused (4 qualified teams or more were in the finals of an event).

There are 12 traditional events and 2 regional/state championships remaining, with a total of 114 slots left between them all. If every one of them were to be filled, this means a maximum 381 slots will be filled before the wait list is called upon.

Now, I am operating under the assumption that FIRST is operating at a cap of 100 teams a division for a total of 400 teams, like last year. However, 2011 had 352 teams attend, and 2010 had 344 (though that is an Atlanta year).

What I’m saying is this: I can tell you how many slots have been bypassed, the number of teams currently registered, the number of slots still available, and the team cap FIRST operated under last year, but they could easily decide that 95 teams/division (or smaller, depending on how many slots are bypassed over the next two weeks) is just fine for them and the waitlist will be bypassed anyway. They have no official stance on a cap at CMP, though I imagine it should be 420 since that I believe that is how many pre-qualified and merit based slots are available in 2013.

I hope this helps… but it probably doesn’t… :slight_smile:

I’ve heard (third hand) that the number of teams that have passed up Champs is “surprising”. It’s a pretty expensive competition to get to! Just talking with one team locally, they’re looking at something like $800/person for the trip (They are flying down… taking a bus would probably be cheaper). With around 25 people going, that’s some serious cash!

It really isn’t suprise to me that people are passing up on going to Championship. Quite a few teams have been hit very hard finding sponsors and keeping them. Theoretically in my mind, with it being in St. Louis is it more central for everyone in the US which makes it cheaper and easier to travel to for some teams as they do not have to fly from one coast to another. Although this can make it more expense for those who are on the East Coast or outside the US.

This doesn’t apply for us anymore because when I went with my team Champs was in Atlanta.

We flew from Kansas City to Atlanta. Plane tickets for all 15 students, a few mentors and parents (total of about 40 people) cost $18,000. Our hotel cost us $11,000. I honest never saw the cost for our food expenses or the Marta costs to get us to and from the airport. This put us at $725 a head for just transportation to Atlanta and hotel. Luckily we had great support that year and all of your expenses was donated to the team.

There are lots of ways to reduce expenses for Championships. Although I do know that some teams build into their budget to go every so many years or they choose between a guarenteed second regional or the possibility of going to Champs.

Out of curiosity, I just took a look too. I always thought of St. Louis is being more ‘central’. While it’s more central than Atlanta, it’s still a 30 hour drive from California. That makes champs out of reach for anyone who can’t fly from the west coast.

Denver is actually about in the middle. Funny, I always thought it was further west, but it isn’t. It’s 18 hours from San-Fran to Denver, and 18 hours from Denver to Detroit. That’s a drive, but it’s possible to pull off. Plane tickets to Vega are cheap… there is always that option :smiley:

Teams can’t make it to Champs. because of legimate high costs, yet some teams can go cross country for regionals. Money still talks!

How far in hours is it from Maine to Denver? I think St. Louis is ok…keep in mind that there are probably more First teams east of St. Louis than west of it.
The harder you make it for more teams to attend CMP the less that will attend.
I have no idea how teams like 359 are able to travel so much. They came here to Virginia one year and thats about as far east (from Hawaii) as you can get without going to Long Island or Israel.

I once heard a story that 359 is one of the best funded teams in all of FIRST. It seems like it would have be close to truth, based on their travel requirements!

St. Louis, however, is quite close to the mean center of the US Population. Though, I don’t think FIRST teams are really representative of the US population. Someone should redo this calculation with the locations of FIRST teams.

Interesting how close both Denver and St. Louis are to Lebanon, Kansas. :slight_smile:

I have talked with them about it and their big secret is that they fundraise 365 days a year. They work very hard to be able to travel and I’m glad they do.

Thanks for the kind words.

The pressure to run a team, raise money, worry about coaching/strategizing at tournaments, and do my crazy day job…takes a very understanding wife and family.
With also traveling for VEX and IRI as well, imagine taking a team of 20+ members to Hawaii 4-5 times a year. Winning the CMP CA allowed our team to plan way ahead for St. Louis and save money on airfare buying it early.

The learning experiences and the opportunities to travel to different places in both Asia and the US mainland has been priceless. This is the main reason our team travels to different regionals each year.
This year our team was amazed to see snow and snowboard in Utah and we absolutely loved it!

We qualified for nationals for the first time ever as a team - so we very excited to be going. However, the bill is going to be about $60,000 (30 kids plus mentors/chaperones). Group airline tickets run about $1,000 per person from SEattle, so we have booked six separate travel group and were able to average about $500/ticket to save money.

Though St. Louis is central, very few airlines use it as a hub and, therefore, we have to cut through other cities en route. Were the competition in Denver, Dallas, Chicago or Atlanta, we’d likely do much better financially.

How are we affording it? We’ve been preparing for two years, have completely drained our account, and sent out a “please help” letter to all our sponsors. Families are also chipping in a good chunk of change.

Very true. Atlanta is Delta’s biggest hub as well as a major hub for Southwest now that they’ve acquired AirTran. St. Louis has very little options. We have to make two stops to get there, meaning that even if we leave Sacramento at 6am we don’t get to St. Louis until 4:15pm. Oh how I wish JetBlue flew to St. Louis…

Either that or some teams can pitch together and make a flying robot :stuck_out_tongue: