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The Big Game is an annual rugby union match hosted by Harlequins during the Christmas holiday where they move from their home stadium at The Stoop to the National Twickenham Stadium, just a stone’s throw away.

Over the years, Harlequins have created a hugely popular event that includes a variety of entertainment as well as rugby itself. It’s so popular that it has even broken numerous records, including the 2011 Global Rugby Union Attendance record for a regular-season club fixture of 82,000 people. They don’t hold back with the Special Effects either, and Entertainment Effect have created some show-stopping player entrances.


We’ve been working on the event for seven years (Big Game 3 – 9), so the main challenge for this and any other annualised event is creating a point of difference from one year to the next, providing a different product for the client and the thousands of rugby fans. We like to make each year more memorable than the last!


We address the following three key principles when tackling the challenge each year:

More products

The easiest way to improve on the previous year is to add more products, making it bigger and better. As an example, our specialist team have increased the Flame Effects from six flames on one side of the stadium, to twenty-four spread across all four sides of the pitch, providing full coverage.

Bear in mind that there is an optimum amount of product though, reaching a point where additional products no longer add extra impact or simply that there isn’t the venue space available.

Different firing locations

Utilising different firing locations is a great way to add variety and depth to a display. The Entertainment Effects team can also create a surprise element by firing products from locations that the crowd won’t expect. For some events, we fired from pitch level, yet on other occasions, we fired from the roof. Most recently we combined the pitch and roof levels for our biggest production to date!

Different products

Our team continues to source improved products which has helped us develop the show designs.

Flame machines have developed from units only providing ten bursts, to state-of-the-art systems that enable us to provide sixty-second duration displays where flame jets pulse in time to the music.

We’ve also sourced much larger Pyro Special Effects – now when our team fires them out across the pitch, they meet in the middle.


The atmosphere within the stadium speaks for itself – nerve-tingling excitement making the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. The overall event production is worthy of a World Cup Final.

Harlequins Big Game - Pyrotechnic effects and flame effects
Harlequins Big Game - Pyrotechnic effects and flame effects
Rudimental performing at Big Game at Twickenham


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