Way back there. Size of Nationals, and a solution

Posted by Kevin Sevcik at 04/11/2001 2:39 AM EST

Other on team #57, Leopards, from BT Washington and the High School for Engineering Professions and Exxon, Kellog Brown & Root, Powell Electrical.

So I assume we’re all in agreement that Nationals will soon be too big for even EPCOT/Disney to support. Well I’ve got a solution without the horrible complications of making regionals acts as qualifiers.
Move Nats to a bigger venue that can better handle the large number of teams. Where, you ask? Why Texas of course. Everything’s bigger here anyways. Seriously, though, Houston or San Antonio would be perfect for a really large event like that. The new convention center that’s being built with the new football stadium in houston is HUGE. More than enough room for pits and fields. And if we hold it there, Astroworld is only a short walk away. :^) Wouldn’t it be cool to rent the entire park complete with rides to have the team party? The only real problem that I see is hotel space. I’m not sure if there’s enough close enough. San Antonio would be good too. Its entire economy is based on conventions and tourism, so it’s bound to have plenty of space and hotel rooms. I know for a fact that there are convention centers there that are big enough to handle FIRST, cause I’ve been in one. Again, it’s just HUGE. and indoors and air-conditioned too. Only problem is there’d be no fireworks…

So who’s up for moving Nats as far from Disney’s high prices as pssible?

Posted by Jason Iannuzzi at 04/11/2001 7:41 AM EST

Engineer on team #11, Marauders, from Mt. Olive HS. and BASF, Rame Hart, CCM.

In Reply to: Way back there. Size of Nationals, and a solution
Posted by Kevin Sevcik on 04/11/2001 2:39 AM EST:

As far as good venues go, how about the McCormick Convention Center in Chicago. It’s the largest convention center in the country (maybe the world), at almost 2X the size of the next largest site. Not to mention, O’Hare airport is a major airline hub, usually you can get very good rates there on almost every airline from anywhere in the country.

And Chicago in April isn’t THAT bad.

Posted by Jason Rudolph at 04/11/2001 8:41 AM EST

Coach on team #459, Rampage, from University of Florida/Eastside High School and Adaptive Equipment.

In Reply to: Re: Way back there. Size of Nationals, and a solution
Posted by Jason Iannuzzi on 04/11/2001 7:41 AM EST:

Actually, the Orange County convention center (orlando) is one of the biggest convention centers in the country, I think it is only second to Las Vegas’s convention center, which is the largest. It oculd be moved there, where we know there is plenty of hotel space, and you still get the beutiful Florida weather in April. But truthfully, Nationals is going to get so large, so quickly if the current rate of growth continues, that NO venue will be able to host all of us soon. I think that pretty soon FIRST is going to have to require that teams qualify for the national event.

Jason

Posted by Joe Johnson at 04/11/2001 8:57 AM EST

Engineer on team #47, Chief Delphi, from Pontiac Central High School and Delphi Automotive Systems.

In Reply to: Re: Way back there. Size of Nationals, and a solution
Posted by Jason Rudolph on 04/11/2001 8:41 AM EST:

Given the format of this year’s Nationals together with this year’s game, there was no reason for Newton, Curie, etc. to be in the same city or even the same state.

I am not recommending this, but it would have been very easy to tell the various teams to go the the various cities (e.g. Newton -> Chicago, Curie -> LA, etc.)

The “FINALS” could have been accomplished via TV link.

Part of me shrinks in horror at the idea. But part of me says, “why not?”

Getting TV signals from 4 sites linked together used to be a huge cost driver. Today, I am not so sure.

Thoughts?

Joe J.

Posted by Jared at 04/11/2001 9:23 AM EST

Student on team #312, Heatwave, from Lakewood High and Baxter.

In Reply to: virtual nationals?
Posted by Joe Johnson on 04/11/2001 8:57 AM EST:

But doing it like that takes all the fun and excitement out of Nationals. You don’t get to meet all the teams and you can’t see your competition first hand, you have to watch whatever some camera guy is told to show us. I like Nationals how it is, whether we’re in a parking lot, or whether we’re going to be in a convention center, I am fine. But the Via Satellite, eh… its an idea but I for one don’t really care for it.

-= Jared =-
#312
!HEATWAVE!

Posted by soap108 at 04/11/2001 10:25 AM EST

Engineer on team #108, SigmaC@T, from Dillard & Taravella HS and Motorola.

In Reply to: virtual nationals?
Posted by Joe Johnson on 04/11/2001 8:57 AM EST:

Any thoughts on utilizing the Disney in California as a sort of Western Conference “National” Championship,
(maybe Newton and Curie play there…)

and using Orlando’s EPCOT as an Eastern Conference “National” Championship?
(…and Galileo and Archimedes play here)

Guess it really depends on the game.

===============
Another route?

Still 1 National Event at Orlando’s EPCOT:

Newton and Curie: Practice=Mon; Seed=Tues; Seed/Semi-Finals=Wed. Winners/Semi-Finalists get extended stay until Saturday…everyone else goes home…

Galileo and Archimedes: Practice=Thurs; Seed=Friday; Seed/Finals=Saturday.

  • Disney benefits by having twice the teams staying at their resorts (340 mon-wed, and 340 (plus the N&C Winners) thurs-sat)

  • Newton and Curie winners get to hang out at Disney a couple extra days and actually utilize the park hopper passes on thurs and friday.

  • FIRST Staff, Crew, Volunteers, Judges, VIPs, all get a week stay at Disney too…

  • Only ‘last minute’ details regarding travel is the flight back for the winners of N&C…I’m sure FIRST could ‘work with’ airlines in advance to tackle this issue…
    *…or perhaps N&C divisions are over loaded with Florida, Georgia, and other not-so-far-away teams that may have drove to nationals and not have flown in? However, definitly not that many FL teams…yet!

any more ideas?
KA - 108
;~)

: Given the format of this year’s Nationals together with this year’s game, there was no reason for Newton, Curie, etc. to be in the same city or even the same state.

: I am not recommending this, but it would have been very easy to tell the various teams to go the the various cities (e.g. Newton -> Chicago, Curie -> LA, etc.)

: The “FINALS” could have been accomplished via TV link.

: Part of me shrinks in horror at the idea. But part of me says, “why not?”

: Getting TV signals from 4 sites linked together used to be a huge cost driver. Today, I am not so sure.

: Thoughts?

: Joe J.

Posted by Kevin Sevcik at 04/11/2001 11:10 AM EST

Other on team #57, Leopards, from BT Washington and the High School for Engineering Professions and Exxon, Kellog Brown & Root, Powell Electrical.

In Reply to: Re: virtual nationals?..California…Week long Nationals!
Posted by soap108 on 04/11/2001 10:25 AM EST:

While week long nationals would be kind of cool, I don’t think that’s very practical. It comes down to the same problem as using regionals as qualifiers. Those last minute airline and hotel changes just aren’t gonna work. And there’s absolutely no way that FIRST can “work with” the airline companies. There’s just too many airlines in too many places for FIRST to co-ordinate with. And I’m pretty sure that Disney puts a stop to all room reservation changes weeks before nationals. I suppose it’d be a little better if the divisions were posted during the very first week of competiton, but that’d still complicate matters and make things more expensive.

As for the Dual Nationals thing, I’m all for it. Of course, I’m still pushing for Houston as a viable location for a national size competiton. :^) I can’t remember exactly, but I’m pretty sure that Disneyland doesn’t have nearly as much free space as Disneyworld, so I’m doubting that a second nationals will be held at another Disney facility. :^) Besides, if the second nationals was in California, there’d be too big a time change. If it was held in Houston, or atleast the central time zone, you could schedule things so that both awards ceremonies happened at the same time, so everyone would find out the animation, chairman’s, etc winners at once, and everyone would get to see them. Assuming the two ceremonies had a nifty TV hookup.

Posted by soap108 at 04/11/2001 4:52 PM EST

Engineer on team #108, SigmaC@T, from Dillard & Taravella HS and Motorola.

In Reply to: I dunno…
Posted by Kevin Sevcik on 04/11/2001 11:10 AM EST:

===================

: And there’s absolutely no way that FIRST can “work with” the airline companies. There’s just too many airlines in too many places for FIRST to co-ordinate with.

Have Dean personally fly people in his prvt airplane…(yeah right)

===================

:And I’m pretty sure that Disney puts a stop to all room reservation changes weeks before nationals.

My family has always (past 4 yrs) been able to extend our hotel stay one or two days past Saturday night…most hotels like people staying more days…but Yes week-long EPCOT would pose some other ‘addressable issues’

===================

later,
;~)
KA - 108

Posted by Chris at 04/11/2001 12:00 PM EST

Student on team #610, Coyotes, from Crescent School.

In Reply to: virtual nationals?
Posted by Joe Johnson on 04/11/2001 8:57 AM EST:

This is basically just the idea of having Qualifiers for nationals…

Posted by Matt Leese at 04/11/2001 12:09 PM EST

Other on team #73, Tigerbolt, from Edison Technical HS and Alstom & Fiber Technologies & RIT.

In Reply to: virtual nationals?
Posted by Joe Johnson on 04/11/2001 8:57 AM EST:

One of the things I thought they might do next year is have the four divisions play at four different parks. So Newton may be at Epcot, while Curie is at the Magic Kingdom, Galileo is at MGM, and Archimedes is at Animal Kingdom. Then, just move everything to Epcot for the finals. The main problem would be moving everything and that it gave an advantage to the division that played at Epcot. I think that’s a more viable alternative than different states or cities.

Matt

Posted by bill whitley at 04/11/2001 3:23 PM EST

Student on team #70, Auto City Bandits, from Powers Catholic High School and Kettering University.

In Reply to: Division per park
Posted by Matt Leese on 04/11/2001 12:09 PM EST:

If you are the finalist from MGM and have to go to epcot to play the finals, you are going to have to leave your pit behind. Would FIRST provide transportation for robots, tools, etc? I don’t like the idea of splitting up nationals, but I am not convinced there is another location large enough to handle us, and wonder whether Disney is going to allow more teams in the future.

Bill
Former Team #70 :wink:

Posted by Joe Johnson at 04/11/2001 8:48 AM EST

Engineer on team #47, Chief Delphi, from Pontiac Central High School and Delphi Automotive Systems.

In Reply to: Re: Way back there. Size of Nationals, and a solution
Posted by Jason Iannuzzi on 04/11/2001 7:41 AM EST:

It may be that 340 teams is the max that Disney is willing to accept.

It may also be that FIRST is unwilling to leave Disney in order to make the Nationals larger.

How to proceed?

If you limit teams by some qualification criteria, this is going to make travel very tricky, as airline tickets and hotels will be more expensive to work out at the last moment.

If you limit teams based on signing up in December, many worthy teams will be missing from the Nationals.

Perhaps there is a middle ground.

Allow 80% of the slots to be filled on a first-come-first-served basis.

FIRST can then keep a waiting list that they alone control.

Teams that they deem to be worthy but not already scheduled to attend the Nationals (based on robot performance or Chairman’s Award submission or perhaps some other criteria FIRST may choose) would be given the opportunity to fill those 20% of slots.

Any remaining slots would be filled on a first-come-first-served basis from the waiting list.

In this way, most teams that attend Disney could make plans early enough to save money, while those who did not sign up early but “belong” at the Nationals can still attend.

Thoughts?

Joe J.

P.S. Perhaps FIRST can even hold hotel reservations for these teams to take advantage of. These and other details can be worked out as plans progress.

Posted by soap108 at 04/11/2001 10:34 AM EST

Engineer on team #108, SigmaC@T, from Dillard & Taravella HS and Motorola.

In Reply to: a modest proposal…
Posted by Joe Johnson on 04/11/2001 8:48 AM EST:

A couple of years ago (98?) at national award ceremony some disney vip told Dean that if he keeps bringing the teams, they’ll keep building the arenas large enough to hold them…

Disney is powerful. They are very capable of doing the unthinkable…such as hosting 1000 teams at once…granted they will need to use a different part of their parking lot as the current slab is about maxed out…plus they need to double-check those drainage issues anyway… :wink:

I’m willing to bet both FIRST and Disney love the fact that the FIRST National Championship is the largest non-Disney event that Disney hosts.

Just have to wait and find out…

more ideas?
;~)
KA - 108

: It may be that 340 teams is the max that Disney is willing to accept.

Posted by Joe Johnson at 04/11/2001 11:35 AM EST

Engineer on team #47, Chief Delphi, from Pontiac Central High School and Delphi Automotive Systems.

In Reply to: Re: a modest proposal…340 max? naw!
Posted by soap108 on 04/11/2001 10:34 AM EST:

Disney was the party that limited the size of the Nationals this year.

Perhaps they will change their mind for future years, but I have heard rumors to the contrary (not from anyone like Dean or Woodie, just folks who claim to be in the know). I don’t know whether to believe them or not, but it seems at least possible that 340 is the max that Disney is willing to go.

In any case, the possibility is worth discussing.

Joe J.

Posted by Matt Leese at 04/11/2001 12:06 PM EST

Other on team #73, Tigerbolt, from Edison Technical HS and Alstom & Fiber Technologies & RIT.

In Reply to: 340 was a DISNEY limit this year
Posted by Joe Johnson on 04/11/2001 11:35 AM EST:

I’m under the impression that it takes quite a while to plan nationals (I heard from somewhere they plan at least a year in advance). Given that, Disney probably wasn’t expecting this many teams this year and had to set the limit because they didn’t have time to prepare. It would be very un-Disney like for them not to prepare for it for the next year. I would most realistically chalk this year up to an unexpected number of teams wanting to go more than anything else. Although, it could just be Disney can’t handle any more teams…

Matt

Posted by Andrew Rudolph at 04/11/2001 2:11 PM EST

Student on team #168, Charger-Lightning Robotics, from North Miami Beach/Michael Krop Senior High School and NASA Kennedy Space Center/Cordis/HPE Automation.

In Reply to: Re: 340 was a DISNEY limit this year
Posted by Matt Leese on 04/11/2001 12:06 PM EST:

An easy way to fix the problem is instead of having one biiiig pit have smaller ones, like little regional facilities, the division system is made perfect for this. But they could still have the big stadium for awards and whatnot.

andrew

Posted by Deej- T190 at 04/11/2001 2:20 PM EST

Engineer on team #190, Gompeii, from Mass Academy and WPI.

In Reply to: Re: 340 was a DISNEY limit this year
Posted by Andrew Rudolph on 04/11/2001 2:11 PM EST:

: An easy way to fix the problem is instead of having one biiiig pit have smaller ones, like little regional facilities, the division system is made perfect for this. But they could still have the big stadium for awards and whatnot.

: andrew

HAHAHA he said whatnot, which is the mascot for Team 190’s name…our hampster Whatnot!!! Way to be man

Posted by David Kelso at 04/11/2001 3:19 PM EST

Coach on team #131, C.H.A.O.S.-, from Central High School and OSRAM SYLVANIA/ Fleet .

In Reply to: Re: 340 was a DISNEY limit this year
Posted by Andrew Rudolph on 04/11/2001 2:11 PM EST:

Maybe they have to revisit having two events in Florida. They could use Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. The country could be divided into two major divisions. The winners of these two events would meet elsewhere for the Finals. But think about it this way, we were very close to that this year. You only played the teams in another division if you won yours. Using the Epcot setup for two events would be much more cost effective and take the pressure off all the motels in the area.

Posted by Chris Dibble at 04/11/2001 3:59 PM EST

Student on team #102, Dextrous Gearheads, from Somerville High School and Ortho Clinical Diagnostics.

In Reply to: Re: 340 was a DISNEY limit this year
Posted by Matt Leese on 04/11/2001 12:06 PM EST:

I was thinking… there was still alot of parking lot space left at the site this year. What if there were two individual nationals (perhaps 6 or 8 divisions) at the same site, the winners playing on Einstein? It would be almost the same as this year but bigger.

Posted by soap108 at 04/11/2001 4:44 PM EST

Engineer on team #108, SigmaC@T, from Dillard & Taravella HS and Motorola.

In Reply to: 340 was a DISNEY limit this year
Posted by Joe Johnson on 04/11/2001 11:35 AM EST:

Yep, more discussion is good. Aside- it’s nice to have the problem of too many teams, as opposed to too few. What happens if Dean’s dream of every US high school having a team happens? Yikes! An NCAA-like model is more than likely on the horizon…in fact i’ll bet a mt. dew that this yrs divisions is a stepping stone to that kind of format…

Yes, I remember there was a limit established in January on the first website about event capacities…I imagine they took the ~270 last year, approximated the growth this year, and finally resorted to ~340…The pit probably could have held a few (~10) more teams, but that’s it (unless they goto 8’x8’ spaces). We likely peaked for this particular section of their parking lot…but there is a lot more space on their grounds that doesn’t get used much…also limit factor is hotel space; amt of persons at team party; bus transportation; $; more…

also-
What is kinda interesting is the teams that shipped their robot to EPCOT without having signed up (paid the 5000 and gotten on the official list). Some teams (even veteran ones) thought that winning a regional meant they go to EPCOT automatically…yikes!

p.s. Throwing this one out there too: What if the 5th Ally (so-called alternate ally) was able to be picked from the entire pool and not just within division…ideas, thoughts?

later,
;~)
KA - 108

: Disney was the party that limited the size of the Nationals this year.

: Perhaps they will change their mind for future years, but I have heard rumors to the contrary (not from anyone like Dean or Woodie, just folks who claim to be in the know). I don’t know whether to believe them or not, but it seems at least possible that 340 is the max that Disney is willing to go.

: In any case, the possibility is worth discussing.

: Joe J.