Traditionally, FRC has released all event date and location information after Labor Day in September. By that point, we usually, but not always, have all event dates and locations locked down. The downside to this approach is that many teams would like to know these dates much earlier, because of the numerous advantages to be able to start planning event attendance before September. I’ve seen attempts to predict the FRC schedule from bits of data culled from here and there. This tells me there is enough interest for us to make a change.
So, starting now, we’re going to release event date and location information as soon as that information is confirmed. In many cases, ‘confirmed’ will mean FIRST HQ has signed a contract with the venue hosting the event. In others, it will mean the Districts have told us the dates and locations have been confirmed, in situations where the Districts do their own contracting. We will be updating this information at least weekly, as confirmations roll in.
Events for which we don’t have confirmed dates will be listed at the bottom of the Regional section of the schedule, with a date of 12/31/14. Please don’t let the 12/31/14 date confuse you. Our current system requires us to enter some date, and rather than delay getting this information to you further by making a system change at this time, we decided to enter a date that was obviously not in-season. Though I can’t think of a better way to spend to spend New Year’s Eve than at an FRC event, all Regional and District events will actually take place between 2/27/14 and 4/13/14. Also, you will note that some additional location and venue information shows as ‘TBD’. Please don’t call or email asking for date or location information on entries that have information missing. We will post the information as soon as we have it, or very shortly afterward.
The scheduled is posted as ‘Preliminary’. Once a contract is signed, it’s extraordinarily unlikely a date or location will need to change, but we can’t rule this out completely. This could happen, for example, if a venue is damaged in some way and the event can’t be hosted there. If a date or location must change after we have posted it, we will let all teams know via email blast as well as updating the documentation available on the web. We will remove the ‘Preliminary’ notation in the fall.
Note also that this early release of event information does not in any way affect first event registration timing. First event registration is scheduled to open the last Thursday in September, as it traditionally has, this year September 26th.
I realize that for the coming season we’re getting this information out to you only a few weeks before you would have had it anyway. It took us a while to realize we should have been doing this all along, and to put the process in place to make it happen. Assuming this new approach is more Win than Fail, we’ll start earlier next year for the 2015 season.
You can find the currently release information here: http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc/regional-events.
I’ll blog again soon.