Last month I played Murrayfield Stadium. Oh yes. QuizQuizQuiz has really hit the big time now… Sadly, I wasn’t spreading the word of quiz to 60,000 adoring fans, but for 200 or so people in a corporate suite.
We quite often run quizzes in rooms at stadiums. Indeed one of the first ever QuizQuizQuiz quiz nights, back in 2003, was at St. James’ Park in Newcastle. Running quizzes at places such as Old Trafford (Cricket and Football), the Emirates, Hampden Park etc. can be a nice vicarious thrill, and, in any case, 200+ people is a pretty large number for a quiz.
I think the most people I’ve ever run a quiz for is just over 300, and we ran a quiz for over 800 people once upon a time with around 120 teams in the Corn Exchange Shopping Centre in Leeds.
Is that too big? What kind of difference does the number of people or teams make?
Theoretically, there’s no limit, but the main inhibiting factors are space, sound and vision, engagement with teams, and, of course, marking.
Big enough venues with really good sound systems, where you feel like you’re fully in touch with all the teams and you know you’re engaging them can be hard to find. And obviously, if you want to mark sheets yourselves, as we do, the more teams, the more good markers you need. [We can run a quiz night using keypads, which to some extent removes the marking factor, but the vast majority of our quiz events rely on pen and paper, at least to some extent, and thus need marking by hand].
Personally, I love running quizzes for massive crowds – the cheer is louder, the sense of occasion is bigger. In some ways it is less intimidating than just running a quiz for a few people, where you can see and hear what everyone is thinking. It’s pretty important, though, that the venue is a good, open space, without lots of nooks, crannies and corners – both in terms of considering sound and people seeing screens, but also in terms of people staying fully involved.
Likewise, whatever the venue, we need to conduct a thorough check that the sound in the venue is good before we start, and this is particularly vital for a big venue.
Any venue and any number can provide it’s own challenges, though. Sometimes we have our own portable equipment, sometimes we plug into a venue’s own, and, with experience, I’ve got the hang of getting the sound right, speaker placement, where teams should be sat etc. I’d like to think that if we ever were asked to put on a quiz for a stadium full of people, we’d find a way to make it work.
Stadium quizzing might just be the next big thing. Comedians are the new rock stars. Maybe QuizMasters will be the new comedians. Or perhaps not. It’s a nice thought though.