A Capital Idea

SporcleCon set to test wits at iconic Washington venue

Published September 5, 2023

Hundreds of trivia aficionados will descend on D.C.’s Washington Hilton this weekend, for the biggest event since the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

The second annual SporcleCon will test all comers, with dozens of different formats spread over three days, and run by question writers from all walks of the trivia world – including Jeopardy! superchamp Buzzy Cohen and Ophira Eisenberg of Ask Me Another. The main event, “Battle of the Brains,” will award the winning team $5,000 on Saturday night – part of a planned $20,000 in combined prizes and donations.

The whole weekend is run by Sporcle Live, the pub-quiz wing of the familiar Sporcle.com quizzing website, and is inspired by other yearly events from recent history.

“When the website hit 10 years (in 2017), a couple of the guys were like, ‘we should do some kind of event at some point,’” according to Mark Adams, Sporcle’s vice president of business development. “I’d seen some of the success (Geeks Who Drink) had with Geek Bowl.1 I thought there was a different way to do TCONA (the Trivia Championships of North America).”

But it wasn’t to be – yet. They’d slated the inaugural SporcleCon for early April 2020, which wound up being the exact moment that most of the world was locked down. But Sporcle was undaunted.

“A year later, there was still a lot of time and passion about bringing the community together,” Adams said.

And so they did. The actual first edition was also at the Washington Hilton, in 2022, and drew some 700 competitors. This year’s SporcleCon is already on pace to beat that mark, Adams says.

In a colorful ballroom, many attendees play trivia quizzes at round tables.
SporcleCon 2022 attracted about 700 players, organizers said. (photo courtesy of Sporcle)

For a $219 ticket – or $99 to $139 for a single day – each attendee will have the opportunity to audition for Jeopardy!, take part in live version of the popular online LearnedLeague game, and sample the offerings of several pub-quiz companies that are local to D.C. They’ll also have chances to go hunting for fun facts in and about the nation’s capital – beyond the walls of the historic hotel, which has hosted the Correspondents’ Dinner since 1968.

Adam hints that the ‘Con may leave Washington after this year, but that it will be back in 2024 and beyond.

“We would love for SporcleCon to grow to where thousands of people will come out because they enjoy quizzing,” he says. “And they can turn that hobby of watching Jeopardy! every night into something they can do for a weekend.”

Tickets for SporcleCon 2023 are available at sporclecon.com. Barring a sell-out, they’ll be available at the door as well.

Photo illustration: Sporcle / Questionist

  1. Disclosure: Questionist is a Geeks Who Drink publication.