Starting a Team

Anyone can start a FIRST Tech Challenge Team! Teams may be made up of members from a school, church, scout troop, club or group of friends. It is often necessary to form a new team since existing teams may not be adding new members.

Details and resources can be found on the FIRST website under "Start a FIRST Tech Challenge Team", but here are the basic steps

  1. Recruit 3-15 students and 2 (min) adult coaches (including yourself). Team members must be ages of 13-18. An individual can only participate on one FIRST Tech Challenge team per season.
  2. Register the team with FIRST Tech Challenge. Registration opens in May and runs until mid-September or until all slots are filled, whichever comes first. Team members do not need to be identified until tournament registration in late fall. Registration with FIRST is an annual process and does not cover regional, state or national tournament fees. Team members do not need to be identified until tournament registration in late fall
  3. Order your robotics kit and begin practicing building techniques and learning the programming software.
  4. Attend the FIRST Tech Challenge OH Kick-Off in September, as FIRST reveals the yearly FIRST Tech Challenge.
  5. After the kick-off, register for an Ohio Regional Qualifying Tournament. FIRST Tech Challenge OH has a qualifying system whereby teams must compete in one of seven qualifying tournaments to advance to the FIRST Tech Challenge OH Championship. Qualifying Tournaments are usually in December and January and the OH Championship is in February. Approximately 1/3 of the teams competing in qualifiers advance.

Note: Neither iSPACE or FIRST creates teams, hosts teams or places students onto teams.

Estimated Costs

The cost to operate a rookie FIRST Tech Challenge team typically ranges from $2000 – $3500. This amount is highly dependent on the number of events a team enters, playing field needs, as well as additional parts typically required for design improvements and/or spares. Travel costs will also vary due to the distance and time needed to travel to an event.

​Here are the basic expenses that should be considered in the team budget:​

FIRST Tech Challenge Team Registration Fee  $275
FTC Competition Set including Electronics, Controls and Communications $725-$875
​Misc. Tools and Parts  $400+

Team Supplies
​Consumables (Printer Ink, Paper) $100+
Team Branding (Tee-Shirts, Buttons, Pit Display) - optional $250+

FIRST Tech Challenge Playing Field
Competition Field (Also available as 1/2 fields - purchase each season) $290-$450
Playing Field Tiles (Recommended - lasts 3-4 years, subject to wear and tear) $230
Playing Field Hard Wall Perimeter (Recommended - one time purchase) $618

FIRST Tech Challenge Event Fees
OH Regional Qualifier (per entry)  $125
OH Championship (if team advances) $250
FIRST Championship (if team advances) $2000

Rookie Teams may apply for needs-based grants by going to "Needs-based Grant"

​Expense for a returning team may be lower, but consideration must be given for replacing broken or worn parts as well as potential for progressing further in the tournaments.

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