HQ Trivia lands Warner Bros. for a $3 million ad deal and $250,000 player jackpot

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HQ Trivia host Scott Rogowsky.
HQ Trivia host Scott Rogowsky. Credit: HQ Trivia via Twitter

The popular live game show app HQ Trivia has bagged its first sponsor in Warner Bros., which will lead to the biggest prize pool players have seen, according to people familiar with the deal.

The app, a cultural hit since it arrived last year, has a deal with Warner Bros. worth $3 million to promote three movies, starting with Steven Spielberg's "Ready Player One," according to the people with knowledge of the terms. During Sunday night's contest, the fan-favorite host Scott Rogowsky is expected to announce a $250,000 jackpot and the sponsorship tie-in for Wednesday's game.

HQ Trivia and Warner Bros. declined to comment.

The app, which raised $15 million in February, has become a popular destination for live mobile viewing with its innovative format, which is being copied by a number of new rivals. The audience participates by answering 12 trivia questions; the people who answer all of them correctly split the prize money, which has reached $50,000 at its height so far.

The peak audience for the games reached 2.18 million people earlier this month, the night of the Oscars, HQ Trivia announced at the time.

It has been clear that to sustain such giveaways and support the business that HQ Trivia would have to eventually open to advertisers. The first sponsorship, with the larger jackpot, points to how the app could keep expanding the incentives for players, as prizes had been shrinking with more people splitting them.

To promote "Ready Player One," HQ Trivia will name the sponsor and include questions in the game that relate to the movie, according to a person familiar with the marketing program. It is unclear whether a trailer for the movie or some type of video ad would play during game time.

HQ Trivia recently began testing a format where one person wins the jackpot by asking questions until only one person remains. Wednesday's game will be a split prize like under the original rules.

Also, over the weekend, HQ Trivia tweeted a message that showed its logo alongside a Nike Air logo, and teasing the date March 26, suggesting more sponsorships to come.

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to HQ Trivia as Trivia HQ.

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