Ambience Is All
Not just any bar will do for this sort of thing. If they cater to a young, noisy crowd, you can bet that the teams won't stay there long. The noise factor is of paramount importance, especially if you have an audio round, but overall as well, because the teams need to be able to hear the questions and answers clearly. We've made some mistakes along the way, and had to move teams out of pubs that don't measure up.
Most pubs, I find, are delighted when you offer to bring in eleven people every Monday night. Monday is traditionally a bar's slowest night, and some of our locations are practically empty except for our players. Unfortunately some pubs seem to feel that providing a location discharges their obligations, and that extra step or two necessary for a good evening is lacking. Ensuring a reasonable level of noise control and providing some sort of free munchies at half time is an excellent way for the bar to tell the players that their presence is welcome and desirable. Obviously, a busy place cannot cater to one specific group as well as a slightly slower place can, so by all means examine the bar on a Monday night before deciding to place a team or teams in there.
Depending on the layout, the pub may be able to provide the teams with a virtually private room or playing area. If you play out in the open, though, you'll find yourselves attracting attention from other patrons, and getting inquiries on how to join the league, which isn't all bad! Rarely, I have had bars get in touch with me, indicating that they have a team wishing to join the league. In most cases, posters in the bar indicating when the league play takes place will generate enough interest among the patrons to cobble together one or two teams. Ideally a bar should be headquarters for two teams, so that there is always one at home and one on the road. A couple of our bars are large enough that they have four teams, so there are always two matches on a Monday night. Remember that a team needs five players available for each match, so it's best to have two or more spares on each squad in case of illness, vacation, business trips, and all the other usual excuses.
Teams tend to be made up of people who know each other before they start playing team trivia. They may be co-workers, for example, or neighbours, or just friends from some other common activity. Our league has grown in a few years from six to eighteen teams, and continues to expand. Players talk about the league to their friends, and more teams just seem to form by themselves! Which certainly suggests that they're all having fun.
If you're going to run a league, there are a number of administrative issues that I need to talk about at this point. You've selected your pubs, teams are set, and the league is ready to go. Now what?
Well, first you have to have a Quizmaster for each match. In our league, the Quizmasters are generally people who have become tired of playing, but don't want to leave the league, and having been on both sides of the equation, they are all excellent. But it isn't
A League of Your Own