FIRST_FTC-Super-Regional-Pin_WESTAccess Sacramento’s broadcast of the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) Western States Super-Regional Robotics championships were seen on cable TV Saturday afternoon with more than 6,000 additional internet viewers as 72 high school teams from 12 western states competed for a chance at going to the national championship.

Two days of preliminary competition led to the championship round and final awards which aired in Sacramento County on Comcast/SureWest cable channel 17 and AT&T U-Verse Channel 99.

Access Sacramento paid staff and volunteers provided technical support to the tournament, feeding video to the internet, the cable channel and two large screens suspended over the competition area.


Two robotics teams face off in the same arena in a head to head competition to see who can earn most points for completing a variety of challenging robotics tasks like placing blocks into a container and then doing a pull-up and suspending itself off the ground.

In partnership with Video Streaming Services, Access Sacramento coordinated six cameras to cover four different competition fields, with streaming video on two internet lines so that viewers from across the west wouldn’t miss any of the preliminary robotic battles.

“I was really impressed with the volunteers who operated cameras, monitored audio and even operated the video switcher feeding the internet stream,” said Access Sacramento Engineer in Charge Richard Langley. “The young people are already highly trained and are quick learners.”

FTC event audio/video coordinator Scot Brees said a big part of managing the needs of a competition like this is to tap into the resource of young people there for the robotics competition. “This is a a learning opportunity in addition to being a contest,” said Brees. “Whenever we can pair students with professionals and help them learn about all types of technology, everybody is a winner.”


A replay of the unedited live broadcast repeats Sunday, March 23 at 5pm on Access Sacramento, Comcast and SureWest Cable Channel 17 and AT&T U-Verse Channel 99.  The event can also be seen from  Push Watch TV 17.

Additional replays are planned for Tuesday Arpil 2 at 7 p.m. and Friday April 5 at 7 p.m.

The robotics broadcast is Access Sacramento’s 44th television show aired since July, 2013 when funding for the HomeTown TV grant begins its 12 month cycle. Grant applications are available from the Access Sacramento website.


Fans filled the stands at McClellan Business Park for the FTC Western Regional high school robotics championships. Photos Courtesy of Bruce Riggs.