“Ultimate Sports Quiz can help build sporting culture in schools”: Joy Bhattacharjya

Joy Bhattacharjya is the Content Head of Ultimate Sports Quiz (Image via Sportskeeda)
Joy Bhattacharjya is the Content Head of Ultimate Sports Quiz (Image via Sportskeeda)

The Ultimate Sports Quiz 2022 – for school teams across India – is currently being broadcast on Sony Sports Network and other OTT and digital platforms.

Ultimate Sports Quiz (USQ) is headlined by the experienced trio of Harsha Bhogle (Quiz Master), Joy Bhattacharjya (Content Head), and Sonia Minocha (Former Senior Producer – ESPN Star Sports, who is leading school relations). The show is produced by VUSport, a brand under Super Six Sports Gaming Pvt Ltd.

The first episode was broadcast on June 5, and all nine preliminary rounds have been aired so far. The three semifinal rounds will be telecast on July 9, 10, and 16, culminating in the national finals on July 17.

‘Slick, State of the Art setup with intelligent lighting for the Gen Z audience’ is one of the show’s highlights
‘Slick, State of the Art setup with intelligent lighting for the Gen Z audience’ is one of the show’s highlights

But can a sports-themed quiz succeed in India?

Back to the future

As it turns out, Ultimate Sports Quiz is inspired by a similar program that aired in the 2000s.

Mr Bhattacharjya, an avid quizzer himself, says:

“The original quiz had a cult following and, more importantly, really helped school kids develop an interest in various sports. In those days, there was very little exposure for Indian athletes. We thought the time was ripe for a new version for a new generation that has more exposure to Indian sporting achievements as well as international achievements.”

The show is “India-centric by design,” Mr Bhattacharjya says, highlighting the need to “first celebrate our own heroes and heroines.” Significantly, he adds that a conscious effort has been made “not to allow cricket to dominate the content.”


Ultimate Sports Quiz – What’s the format?

The format of USQ is inspired by the Olympic motto of ‘Citius, Altius, Fortius.’ So there are three rounds of quizzing, points out Mr Bhattacharjya, testing participants “in both speed of recall and the depth and breadth of their knowledge.”

With each episode under 25 minutes, Ultimate Sports Quiz lends itself well to the modern-day audience hard-pressed for time. Targeted at the Gen Z crowd, snippets from the show automatically translate into naturally engaging content on social media.

Who are the Participating teams?

Twenty-seven schools from 22 cities across India are competing through 13 episodes for the Ultimate Sports Quiz 2022 Champions Trophy.

More than 65% of the schools are from non-metros, with almost 20% participation from girls.

Mr Bhattacharjya explains:

“We believe that allowing schools to pick their teams is important. That said, we have a fair sprinkling of female participants in the 2022 edition. Going forward, we anticipate the first season would inspire more girl students to come forward and compete.”
Participating schools by region (Image via USQ website)
Participating schools by region (Image via USQ website)

What’s the prize?

The three winning teams get cash prizes of ₹35 lakhs, ₹20 lakhs, and ₹10 lakhs to be utilized towards sports infrastructure development in the schools.

All National Finalists win an all-expenses-paid trip to a sporting event of their choice anywhere in the world.

Individual participants have the chance to claim Apple MacBooks & other prizes, besides medals and certificates, not to mention bragging rights within the student community.

Can Ultimate Sports Quiz inspire a ‘sports culture’ in schools?

In an academically-oriented country like India, such pointed emphasis on using the prize money to improve school sports facilities is unheard of. Additionally, success in a competition like Ultimate Sports Quiz hinges on combining strong mental faculties with a passion for sports.

These factors could uniquely place Ultimate Sports Quiz in a position to inspire a ‘sports culture’ in schools.

Mr Bhattacharjya concurs:

“It [Ultimate Sports Quiz] really can be a driver over time. One-off events don’t usually do that, but if we can consistently celebrate sporting knowledge, it will definitely help in building a sporting culture at the school level.”
“I feel that there is a significant change in parents’ attitudes towards engagement of their children in sports in the last few years. Platforms like USQ will further encourage children to follow/ watch or participate more in sports.”

Is Ultimate Sports Quiz here to stay?

It is known that most of India’s sporting stars come from smaller towns and villages. Despite this, the language of the show is entirely in English.

Mr Bhattacharjya has a ready counter.

“The questions may be in English but are accessible to anyone who has a basic understanding of the language. We believe our quiz is extremely accessible and will keep making efforts to make it more and more accessible in the future editions with innovative use of technology.”

It also remains to be seen if, in this internet age, where information is readily available thanks to the ubiquitousness of search engines like Google, memory-based quizzes can generate and sustain sufficient viewership numbers.

Mr Bhattacharjya addresses this by clarifying that “participants do not have access to Google, and the idea is to make questions interesting and relatable.”

All things considered, the team behind USQ seems certain of a long innings.

Mr Bhattacharjya concludes confidently at the buzzer:

“The Ultimate Sports Quiz will be back for the 2023 edition in a much bigger way, with qualification rounds across 24 cities being planned. The top teams at the regional level will be shortlisted for the televised rounds. We also plan to engage with the schools at a deeper level to drive initiatives throughout the year to increase sports engagement.”

Ultimate Sports Quiz is being aired every Saturday and Sunday at 1 pm on Sony Ten 1 and Sony Ten 1 HD, MX Player (OTT), and on mobile platforms Vodafone Idea (Vi Movies & TV), Airtel Xstream, Jio TV+, and Jio Cinema, 1.30 pm onwards.

Watch the preliminary rounds of USQ on MX Player.

We look forward to the upcoming semifinals & finals to see who will be crowned the USQ National Champion school of 2022!

Fans can follow these Ultimate Sports Quiz social media handles for regular updates and the latest developments.

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Edited by Ravi Iyer