Thanks for the post, if you've got that question, I'm sure others do also, so we'll definitely clarify for you.
We did announce the official dates at the end of the World Championship in Anaheim a couple weeks ago. The 2014 World Championship is set for April 23-26, 2014 in Anaheim again. The dates for 2012, 2013 and 2014 were all contracted three years ago.
I've learned more about the convention industry over the last 5 years than I ever wanted to know, and since many are interested in the process and details, I'm happy to share some general information for anyone curious. Here are some of the primary hurdles/obstacles we face when finding a home and date for the World Championship:
- The number of cities that have the facilities to host a VEX or FIRST Championship are certainly limited (many have the incredible amount of square footage space needed for the "pit area", many have have an arena with the needed field/seating capacity - but very few have both, at least "connected" or within suitable walking distance)
- Because of the need for local, regional, state and national tournaments to play out during the season and the need for schools to want 30 days notice (or more) to get approval for travel (plus budget planning and booking airfare and hotel), our event partners and teams (and I'm sure those in FIRST also) have been very vocal with us that they do not want the World Championship to be earlier in the season
- Many schools/teams have also been vocal with us that many would not be able to attend if the World Championship was held any later than April because holding it in May or June would conflict with various tests (state testing, SAT testing, etc...), finals, proms and/or graduations and so on.
- Then on top of those three constraints, we have a holiday weekend (Easter) important to many which actually floats and lands on different weekends each year (most frequently in April). Even for those that don't have an issue with playing that weekend, because it is a big holiday travel weekend, the airfare and hotel costs for all teams attending the event would be much higher
- Then, on top of those 4 constraints, we have one more big one - most or all of the facilities that can host an event the size and magnitude of the VEX World Championship are booked every week in April up to 3, 4 or even 5+ years in advance.
In this specific case, when we booked our dates for 2012, 2013, and 2014, FIRST only had dates held for their Championship in 2012 and 2013, which we made sure to schedule around as we are aware many teams and volunteers are great supporters of both programs. We inquired to see if FIRST dates had been held for 2014 and 2015, but they were not, and April 23-26 was the only week available (not already booked by another group) in Anaheim in 2014 (and this was three years ago). We did not learn the 2014 FIRST dates in St. Louis until they were announced in October, well after our dates were set. FIRST was aware of the dates of the 2014 VEX World Championship, but we're sure they found the same constraints (listed above) and most likely could not avoid the same week even if they wanted to, as it may have been the only week available in St. Louis in 2014. We have offered to switch dates with one of the other events on a different week in Anaheim in 2014 (as we did when we switched our location/dates back in 2011), but they were unable to for various reasons.
So basically, you've got two programs that both hold their events in the same two to three week window, both trying to avoid Easter Weekend and both with a limited number of cities/dates even available. It's actually kind of amazing we've been able to avoid conflicting dates for 6 consecutive years. In spite of our best efforts, and we assume FIRST's, avoiding the same week doesn't appear to have been possible in 2014. We will always be willing, open and eager to discuss World Championship dates with FIRST in advance to avoid these types of conflicts, for the benefit of all participants in the various great programs we both run.
We have been working hard over the past few months to finalize our 2015 and possibly 2016 dates that are currently held. We will announced those dates as soon as the the ink has been put to the contracts to help avoid future conflicts.
The 2013 VEX World Championship was the biggest, best and most successful yet. We know the 2014 VEX World Championship will be even bigger/better and are looking forward to another amazing season!
PS - Team Registration is now up, open and running on Robotevents.com for the 2013-2014 season for ALL THREE programs: VEX IQ Challenge, VEX Robotics Competition and VEX U