Ok, we’re almost to the announcement. We’ve enjoyed the threads with various location guesses, along with some great questions and observations, so we wanted to answer some of the questions that have been asked the past few months in advance of the announcement tomorrow. In no particular order, here are some answers to questions we’ve received:
Why are you changing cities?
No single reason, but many contributing factors. We want to continue to provide the best experience and value possible for the teams attending the World Championship. There aren’t many cities that can host a unique event like the VEX Robotics World Championship (with the combined need for exhibit space and arena space), and those options are becoming fewer as the event grows. We have a very long checklist of things we “want” in a host city/facility for the World Championship. There is no city in the world that checks off EVERY item on that list, but we’ve selected the city that at this point checked off the most items on our list. What are some of those items you ask? Good question, we’ll share many here.
Will a new city allow the World Championship to grow a little?
Yes. We know more teams want to come to the World Championship, but the arena in Anaheim wasn’t going to get any bigger. We’d like to allow 800 or more VEX IQ Challenge, VEX Robotics Competition and VEX U teams to attend the World Championship - so we need more space if we’re going to be able to grow to 800 or more teams, and tried to focus our search on cities with bigger facilities (both exhibit space and arenas).
Are cost concerns the main reason for moving?
No, but it is one of the items on the checklist. Cost is always one of the important factors, but not the main or only factor. There are MANY costs that add up in running an event the size of the World Championship (facility rental, A/V Production, electrical, pit booths, travel costs, feeding staff and volunteers, web streaming, and more), but many of these costs were going to go up more than we were comfortable with in Anaheim and would have resulted in the Entry fee going up to $1,000 per team, which we want to avoid if possible. We feel it’s part of our responsibility to always look at the different options available, and if a city can offer the same or better experience for our teams at a better cost to teams, than that’s something we will take into consideration.
With VEX IQ and VRC growing so fast, will the programs be separated in different parts of the new city?
No, absolutely not. It’s very important to us that all the participants in each program are “under the same roof” so to speak. Many schools or districts have teams in multiple programs, many volunteers and sponsors support teams in multiple programs and many families have children in multiple programs – logistically it’s important that they can go from one program or division to another in as little time as possible, without having to leave the facility or go outside (on the chance of bad weather). It’s hard enough to catch matches that start 15-20 minutes apart in different parts of a large facility, but that would be impossible if long walks or transportation was needed to get from one event to another in different facilities. It’s also important that the younger students can easily see the programs they can strive for and be a part of as they advance in school.
Will the VEX IQ Challenge have it’s own Championship Divisions or Arena at the new city?
We have also received the same question from VRC teams. We know how important it is to students and teams to know their program & event is being celebrated the way it should, and that they want to have that “championship division/arena” type atmosphere. That is certainly an important item on our “checklist” and something we take very seriously. We think we’ve found a great solution better than anything we’ve seen before, hopefully all the teams agree once we’ve held the 2015 World Championship and have seen the new facility.
Will the new city be closer to “insert your region” here?
Yes and no (we get that question a lot). While the geographic location is important, as a global program there is no location that will be close to the majority of the teams. When considering “location”, we take a number of factors into account that are on our “checklist”…such as:
- Does the city have a facility that can hold the event at the current size or larger?
- What is the weather typically like in April each year
- Has the city hosted other extremely large “city wide” type of events?
- Has the city hosted other large “student” based events?
- Does the city frequently show up on lists of “safe cities”?
- Does the city have enough hotels/rooms?
- Will enough of the hotels agree to offer teams discounted rooms from the regular rates during the same week?
- Does the city have an airport that would be considered a small, medium or large hub?
- Does the city have a transportation setup that would ensure teams can easily get from their hotels to the event facility?
- Does the city have other attractions and amenities teams would find appealing before, during or after the event?
- Is the city within a realistic one day drive of a “lot” of teams?
- Does the city have a variety of great dining options?
Why did you wait until early September to announce the new location?
While we had the facility held and knew this was where we wanted to move the World Championship, there were many aspects of the event which we needed to be 100% sure we had arranged before we made the move “official”. We spent the summer working to get enough hotels to provide discounts for teams and securing the various estimates needed for us to be confident we could keep the event cost down and the entry fee under $1,000. There were also two very key aspects of moving to this new city that we wanted to be 100% were secured before we made everything final. Now that we are comfortable all those items are taken care of, we are excited to announce the new location tomorrow.
Will there be any surprises announced regarding the new location of the 2015 World Championship?
Maybe, but not if you were already expecting or anticipating what we announce. We’ll see on Sept 4th.