A pub quiz is a quiz held in a pub or bar. These events are also called quiz nights, trivia nights, or bar trivia and may be held in other settings. Pub quizzes may attract customers to a pub who are not found there on other days. The pub quiz is a modern example of a pub game. Although different pub quizzes can cover a range of formats and topics, they have many features in common. The pub quiz was established in the UK in the 1970s by Burns and Porter and became part of British culture.
The pub quiz was established in the UK in the 1970s, mainly by a company called Burns and Porter, to get people into pubs on quieter nights. Popularity grew and grew over the next few years from just 30 teams to 10,000 playing each week in a Burns and Porter quiz. Redtooth runs an annual Great British Pub Quiz challenge, with more than 600 pubs taking part in 2012. A 2009 study put the number of regular weekly pub quizzes in the UK at 22,445, and one website has counted approximately 2,000 regular weekly quizzes in the US.
Pub quizzes (also known as live trivia, or table quizzes) are often weekly events and will have an advertised start time, most often in the evening. While specific formats vary, most pub quizzes involve written answers to questions which are distributed in written form or announced by a quizmaster. One format for quizzing is called "infinite bounce". This format is generally used when the number of teams in the quiz is large – usually around 8–10. Every question is addressed to the team succeeding the team that answered the previous question. If no team answers the question, the next question is addressed to the team succeeding the team to whom the previous question was addressed.
As the pub quiz concept spread to the US in the 1990s, several companies formed to provide services to bars and restaurants organizing quizzes. Different from the quiz league in the UK, US commercial pub quizzes typically involve more than just two teams and can have as many as 25–35 teams playing in a single location, with up to 6 people per team. Quiz companies charge bars a fee for hosting the quiz, which may range from $80 per week to $175 or more depending on attendance. At least 20 different pub quiz companies currently exist in the US, with most operating events concentrated in major metropolitan areas.
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