FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

Championship Map Changes and Somebody Wanted This!

Jun 28, 2018 Written by Frank Merrick.



Championship Map Changes

As most readers of this blog probably know, we assign FIRST Robotics Competition teams to a FIRST Championship location, Houston or Detroit, based on the location of the team.


We had a special request from Israel regarding their Championship location assignment in 2019. In prior years, we had assigned them to Houston. However, the dates for FIRST Championship Houston in 2019 coincide with the Jewish religious holiday of Passover. During Passover, travel for teams from Israel is extremely difficult and adds more cost to the high price they already pay for travel. They asked if we could make an accommodation for them by moving their assignment to Detroit in 2019, returning it to Houston for 2020. Israel has over 1,000 FIRST teams across all four programs in their country, and three of the programs send teams to FIRST Championship, so this concern extends beyond just FIRST Robotics Competition teams.


We reviewed the assignment projections and agreed we could accommodate this request for this one year. As it turns out, FIRST LEGO League also wanted to make some additional adjustments to the assignment map, as they had an interest in creating more of a global presence at each location. In the end, all four programs worked together to create the assignment maps you can see for 2019 here and for 2020 here.


When you look at these maps, you will see that Israel is the only country with a significant FIRST Robotics Competition team presence that is changing location from their 2018 assignment. Israel uses the District competition model, and we have no plans for changes to the method by which we calculate the number of FIRST Championship slots we allocate to Districts. You can find these rules in Section here. You will see that we base the allocation on team counts for the current year. So, right now we can’t say exactly how many FIRST Championship slots we will award Israel in 2019. However, based on data we have from 2018, it seems likely they will be awarded fewer slots in 2019 than in 2018. This is part of the trade-off they are making in attending FIRST Championship Detroit.


We recognize that the Christian religious holiday of Good Friday also occurs during FIRST Championship Houston, and Easter is the day after the conclusion of the Houston event. We also recognize that teams outside of Israel may be affected by the Passover holiday. We are considering ways by which teams for whom this situation presents a very significant challenge may be accommodated. We’ll have more information on this in the fall.


Somebody Wanted This!

Control System Poster FIRST Robotics Competition

Earlier this month I asked if anyone wanted this. Turns out a bunch of you did! Thanks to everyone who submitted requests. I decided to give it to FIRST Robotics Competition Team 1189, The Gearheads, from Grosse Pointe, Michigan, USA. In their request, they said they intended to use this as an instructional aid for underserved teams in their area, as well as for themselves. That sounded like a great idea to me, and as they have won District Chairman’s awards the last two years, I’m thinking they can get it done, so we shipped it off.* Good luck Gearheads!




*I did not ship the banana. I ate the banana.


Back to Blog


Whoops! Somehow we managed to leave New Zealand off the 2020 map completely. Sorry about that!  It has now been restored to its proper place. The link above should take you to the updated file, though you may have to clear your cache if you clicked on it before it was fixed. So sorry again!

Accommodating the Israeli teams highlights a significant opportunity for FIRST to improve the experience at Champs and increase the interaction among teams worldwide. FIRST should rotate what I'll call "Areas" between the two Championship sites each year. In general, the Areas would be identified as Northeast (for teams within a certain range of Detroit that can easily drive, e.g., 500 miles), Southwest (including Texas and neighbor states), West (for states west of the Mississippi River plus International teams), and East (for states east of the Mississippi River). The Northeast and Southwest teams would be based at their current home Championship. The West and East teams would then rotate each year. In this way, each Area will see other teams from at least two of the three other Areas. For teams in the West Area, travel costs will not be impacted because of being generally equidistant from either Championships. For teams in the East Area, travel costs may increase, but to the extent these teams rely on air travel instead of ground transport, the cost impacts also should be minimal.

Hello, can team 6847 get a copy of this ?  Even a digital copy would be good !



Hi Stephane! Please find the link to the digital copy of that board in this blog! Thanks! Jamee

 After reviewing both maps, it looks like we are still stuck in the east coast/left coast mind set.

One of the things I always like about the championships was meeting / working / playing with teams from ALL areas and to be locked in a set group, no matter how big, diminishes the experience 

This change actually hurts the teams who maintain a religious way of life, instead of assisting them. What happens is that Detroit is also on the dates of the Jewish Passover. Even further, In Detroit, religious teams will not be able to compete/attend the event for 2 straight days (Friday + Saturday) due to them beeing considered Shabbat-like days. For Hosuton, religious jewish teams will only miss Saturday (Like every other year). 

In addition, the difference in flight and price tickers isn't that big. Goes to around 5%,

One last thing, as Detroit is the later of the two Championship events, attending it forces Senior students to choose between their final Citizenship exam and the event, as the dates collide.


FIRST should really have considered those facts while making that choice. Some Israeli teams are hurt by the move to detroit to a place where they will not be able to ttend Detroit, while they could attend Houston.

But it's not too late, having a suitable option for specific teams to move back to Houston would help a lot and really make everyone happy.

This change was made at the request of FIRST Israel. Giving teams from Israel a choice to attend either Houston or Detroit would be wonderful for those teams, but would be a special privilege not available to other teams (except Hall of Fame teams), many of whom would also prefer being able to pick their FIRST Championship location. This seems unfair.

I manage a club of 6 teams and we are dismayed that the World Championships this year is scheduled through the Holy Week of Easter.  For many Christians it is not just Good Friday and Easter,  but the whole week is Sacred as we prepare and participate in Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and then Easter.  Your asking Christians to travel on Saturday and for many Sunday, Easter Day.   The US has the largest Christian population in the world with 240 million.  Christians from around the world total 2.19 billion.  This is Secularism at it's worst with little thought given to Christianity.  You would not make this scheduling mistake around Christmas, so why is it made at Easter?   At Easter Gracious Professionalism should extend outward to encompass Grace-filled professionalism.    


FIRST welcomes participants of all faiths, as well as participants who have none. Unfortunately, to serve the majority of our participants adequately, occasionally activities must be scheduled during times that do not work well for one faith or another. We are sorry for the issues this causes for specific teams and individuals, but we believe it would not be possible to always schedule events in such a way to serve the needs of every attendee. 

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