Sending hundreds to thousands of text messages per hour is a difficult problem. Getting cell phones to work in an enormous convention center full of people is a difficult problem. This is why there are multiple redundant methods for making sure you get to your matches on time. Including just writing down your scheduled match times and showing up to your division 10 minutes before each scheduled time – if all else fails, that should still get you to all your matches.
(Incidentally, I had really good cell coverage in the venue thanks to the “AT&T Passpoint” network which my phone auto-joined. But I think people on other cell carriers experienced worse performance.)
One of our builders grabs the list, first thing, at every single tournament, and highlights the matches then hangs it up somewhere in the pit and makes sure everyone knows the schedule. They’ve screwed up a couple of times, usually some argument at the practice fields or something that causes them to lose track of time, but for the most part, that works really well and it was perfect at Worlds. Everyone took pics of the various pages and that served everyone nicely.
I bought some cheap walkies with decent range (verified allowed) and those came in handy as well (when they weren’t goofing off with them).
I just brought my robot and everything I needed along with a two chairs and sat by my division so we didn’t miss matches since our division was literally the 2nd farthest from the pits. I think that next year they should make the pits a little bit closer to the divisions because it sucks walking and running a quarter mile to and from your pit if you are missing something for a match.
I agree that it would be nice to have some different organization of things, but given the space and not separating teams into divisions (which would be a different problem to deal with for organizations with multiple teams), I don’t know how they manage it. Hopefully they’re thinking on it, though.
Alternatively, register with a 2- or 3-digit number, and you’ll be a lot closer…
Incidentally, at two of our (non-Worlds) tournaments, we 242 teams were in the farthest corner. It wasn’t a huge deal, though, since it still wasn’t that far and IQ robots are light (and we don’t build at the queuing table). At one of the tournaments, the 204, 205, 207, etc. teams were out in the hall. The farthest team from the fields was about a 209C.
Whenever we went to tournaments and my mom asked when our next match was, I would tell her the match number and currently playing match number and she would ask for the time. I never trusted the time. I was actually at one tournament where they planned to have finals around 3, but they had planned three minutes per match, when it should have been more like three minutes for 2 matches (IQ with two fields). I remember waiting at the field when the field monitor said, “Qualification X starts in 1:45:xx”. We finished qualifications by noon and were out by 2:30. After that, I never looked at the time.