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Running an Effective Tournament

Running an Effective Tournament

“Increase the competition and get players returning for regular tournaments”


Welcome back to the blog and I hope by now you are starting to get a flavor of what we are all about. With the mass of tips, hints and opinions so far put forward to aid you in your trivia hosting career I hope you have at least found something to help you along the way. No matter what type of night you are hosting take a look at our archives and there will be something to aid you and if not stay tuned as there is plenty more to come.



In this blog post we are going to look at how to run effective tournaments over the scale of a period of time. Recently in the blog we looked at how to run a trivia tournament involving perhaps one night and one crowd but here we are looking at a tournament spread over a month or longer to increase suspense, attendance and get everyone talking. Are you looking to create a stand out trivia night in your local area? Are you wanting to attract customers from far and wide to your venue? Then perhaps running an effective tournament is just the blog article to help you.


Running an Effective Tournament – Why?

By their very nature, people who attend trivia events are a competitive bunch. The whole purpose of a trivia event (yes they will TELL you its for fun) but in actual fact the whole purpose is the competition. Beating others, a test of wits and memory….that is what trivia is all about. Look at the faces of the people on Jeopardy and The Chase. They want to win….they are there, playing trivia to win! For the interests of your customers running an effective tournament where perhaps 1 person per week qualifies for a grand final will keep them hooked, tap into this competitive edge and make sure the players keep coming back to qualify. If you run a Trivia tournament every 2 months and have 8 weeks of qualifying, players will make sure they do what they can in that eight weeks to qualify. Make it a good prize at the end of it and that gives them even more to strive for!


….and also think about the needs of the venue owner. If you are giving players even more reason and even more incentive to come back then they will see an increase in business and you will have achieved your aim. It works for everyone!


Running an Effective Tournament – As an add on…

One thing I would say though as you are considering running an effective tournament is to ensure that you perhaps make it as an “added extra” to your usual trivia night. Perhaps the last 30 minutes of the entire night is a special bonus round (talk to the bar manager and make this during happy hour etc) where the winning player of team qualifies for your tournament. You need to be careful not to put make people feel isolated, or punish them for being poorer players than the others. I like trivia tournament qualification that relies on 50% luck and 50% skill. At the end of my trivia night I have a nearest the pin style question….something like a number, a date, or a year that nobody is going to know off hand and the closest person to guess wins. This means that people with a good educated guess will have a chance but also people plucking a number from the air may also still win. At at least everyone will feel involved.


Running an Effective Tournament – Multiple Venues

Getting a little bit more complicated now and this runs the risks of annoying bar owners but you could run a trivia contest across all the venues you play in? Have 2 weeks of qualifying and the best 3-4 teams can then compete in a grand finale on a different night in one of the venues. If you perhaps vary it up and choose a night to suit the bar owners, alternating each fortnight between the two and you should be okay. Make sure as well not to forget about the audio-visual systems, you may hire a professional from sites like to help you with the installation of audio-visual systems.


Running an Effective Tournament – Cross Promotion Tournaments

Even more inventive now….how about running a tournament with other trivia hosts. Say you know there are 7 trivia hosts in the area. Have each host invite the winning team to a special trivia night on one day of the month for a mega event. Vary it up between bars and hosts and it shouldn’t be a problem. It gets everyone’s trivia noticed and creates a valid tournament feel!


Running an Effective Tournament – Be Cautious

In essence though you need to express caution as the more competitive you make it the more you may risk losing sight of your main goal which is to entertain and get people into the venue. If you make a person feel stupid, make smart people look dumb in their own pub then they won’t come back. If you seem to be more focused on the trivia tournament than making the bar money you will run the risk of annoying the one person that matters more than most to you….the bar owner.


In all, running an effective tournament needs to comprise of a lot of the issues we have talked about so far…making it fair, fun, appealing, wide ranging etc….but also needs to consider some of the newer points mentioned above. As a trivia host you have the very tough task of balancing the needs of the competitive edge of the trivia players with the needs of the bar and venue owners to produce a night and an event that not only thrills, entertains and makes profit, but has players wanting to come back.


It is a hard job but someone has got to do it and the person who does it right will see trivia profits boom. Let that person be you and make effective use of running tournaments and giver your trivia services the cutting edge in the competitive trivia marketplace.



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