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Group of friends watching football.

6 Tips To Host The Ultimate Big Game Viewing Party

Lauren Nowacki3-Minute Read
April 01, 2020

The big game is kicking off soon, and players and coaches aren’t the only ones preparing for the spectacle. Across the country, party hosts are cleaning their homes, buying big-screen TVs and prepping a slew of appetizers for their viewing parties. Prepare to hold your own big event with these tips.

What Is A Viewing Party?

A viewing party is a private event at a home or community space where people meet up to watch a specific event, like an awards show, TV or movie debut or, more commonly, an important football game or other sporting event.

How Do You Throw A Viewing Party?

Ready to host the ultimate football viewing party? These tips will help you get your home ready for game day and score big with family and friends.

Tip #1: Run The Play Before The Game

Wipe down your TV to get rid of unsightly dust and fix any glares you see reflected on the screen. It is a viewing party, after all, so you want to make sure everyone can actually see what’s going on. Before your guests arrive, test your TV and home sound system to make sure everything is in working order. You don’t want to miss kickoff because you couldn’t get the TV to work, and you don’t want to fail to hear the greatest one-liner in commercial history because the sound cut off.

Tip #2: Decorate Like A Champion

When it comes to football viewing parties, you already have the theme and color scheme. Simply decorate your home with what you’d see at the actual game – splashes of both teams’ official colors, and fields and footballs abound.

Create A Fan Zone

Part of the fun is rooting for a team, so help your guests celebrate each successful play by supplying proper cheering equipment. Purchase clappers, whistles and foam fingers for fans who like to get loud. Lay out markers and paper for guests to make their own signs. Create mini team flags by hot-gluing colored felt onto wooden sticks. Tape together skinny strips of colored paper to make your own pompoms.

Style Your Concession Stand

At a football viewing party, the action is usually around the TV or wherever the food is. Create a delicious playing field across your snack table by laying down a green tablecloth or scrap of AstroTurf with football field markings painted on. Call out refreshments with DIY mock “chalkboard” signs made with black foamcore boards. Put out yellow napkins to keep guests tidy and serve as makeshift flags on the play. If you have one of those big drink coolers, put water or another beverage in it and add it to the table to go with the football theme. Just make sure it doesn’t get dumped over a guest in celebration of a team’s victory.

Create football snack bags by using white electrical tape to make laces. Do the same thing on brown plastic cups. Don’t just decorate with paper and plastic, use your creativity and your food to really pull off the football theme.

That brings us to our next tip.

Wondering how some of these ideas turn out? Check out our video to see how some of these decorations come together for the perfect table setting.

Tip #3: Feed And Hydrate The Team 

Some people come for the game, some for the commercials. Everyone comes for the food. Here’s how to win big with your party snacks.

Stick With Finger Foods

Most people don’t expect fancy dishes or five-course meals when they attend a viewing party. In fact, since guests will be sitting on the couch or standing around the TV while also holding a drink or jumping up and down with every play, most will prefer finger foods that are easy to eat and not very messy. That means sticking to such staples as:

  • Chips and dips
  • Cocktail weenies
  • Deviled eggs
  • Veggies
  • Soft pretzels and beer cheese
  • Sandwiches
  • Sliders
  • Pizza
  • Walking tacos
  • Wings
  • Nachos

Don’t forget to provide healthy and meatless options, too. These may include:

  • Fruit and veggie platters
  • Hummus and guacamole
  • Stuffed peppers
  • Fried or buffalo-style cauliflower “wings”
  • Snack nuts

If you have guests with certain allergies, consider putting food they can’t eat on a separate table and make signs for any foods that contain allergens.

Make Your Party Platters Part Of The Decor

Instead of going all out on other decor, implement food you’re already making into the theme. Here are a few ideas, from simple to a little more complex.

  • Dip strawberries, apple slices or pretzel sticks in melted chocolate, then paint white chocolate laces on top to create sweet football snacks.
  • Use thinly sliced green onions to top deviled eggs with green “laces.”
  • Arrange the pepperoni on a frozen pizza to look like a football, field or even a team’s logo.
  • Dress Teddy Grahams in tiny frosting jerseys.
  • Carve a football helmet out of a watermelon shell, then fill it with fruit.
  • Pass out Championship Rings (aka Ring Pops)

Tip #4: Provide Ample Seating With A View

According to ESPN, the average televised NFL game lasts about 3 hours. Certain games (like a national championship) last even longer due to elaborate halftime performances. That’s a long time to be standing. Ensure there is a seat for every guest in attendance and that it’s within view of the TV. If there are guests you know are coming just to enjoy the company and not the game, provide additional seating at a table away from the action, too.

Tip #5: Get Everyone To Participate

Some of the year’s greatest commercials premiere during the big game, causing quite the conversation. Make it more fun by handing out scorecards and have your guests rate the commercials. Or, make a game of it. Create bingo cards with brands, products or items you might catch in the commercials. The first person to get five in a row wins a prize.

Add a little friendly competition during the game by playing football squares, an easy way to get people involved in the game. Create a 10 x 10 grid, with one team representing the rows and one team representing the columns. Have guests choose a square in the grid, then randomly assign numbers 0-9 for the rows and columns. Each square will have two assigned numbers. At the end of the quarter or game, the square that matches the last digit of each team’s score is the winning square.

Tip #6: Set Up Your Defense 

Parties can get a little messy. Prepare for the mess ahead of time to minimize spills, stains and breaks. Put valuable and breakable items away before the party starts. This will create more space for your guests and protect items from getting broken. Place coasters around sitting areas and keep piles of napkins in multiple spots around the home – not just at the snack table. Place wet napkins or hand wipes on the snack table next to the wings and other messy appetizers. Have rags and cleaning solution on hand in case there are any spills. If you have area rugs, consider rolling them up for the night or replacing them with inexpensive options.

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What Should You Bring To A Football Party?

Not hosting a football viewing party but attending one instead? Here are a few items to bring so you can be the MVP (most valuable partygoer). The first thing to do is simply ask the host if there is anything you can bring. Whatever they tell you to bring, go with that. It’s clear they need it.

Other than any requests from the host, there are a few other items you can bring to help the host out and add to the experience. If you plan on drinking, bring a designated driver and your own booze, if the party is BYOB (alcohol can be expensive). If you have any dietary restrictions, plan on bringing your own dish to share. This ensures you’ll have something to eat, just in case. If you have kids, bring a few activities to keep them busy. Remember, football games can last a few hours, so make sure they have plenty to do if watching the game isn’t their thing.

Whatever you decide to bring, make sure you let the host know. That way, they’ll avoid buying double of something and can plan space for your item, if needed.

This year may not be your year to host, but maybe next year will be! If you’re looking for the perfect home to host events and build memories, a Rocket HomesSM partner agent can help you find one. Need ideas for your next party? Check out our blog for posts on hosting holidays, decorating your home and other tips for homeowners.

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Lauren Nowacki

Lauren Nowacki is a staff writer specializing in personal finance, homeownership and the mortgage industry. She has a B.A. in Communications and has worked as a writer and editor for various publications in Philadelphia, Chicago and Metro Detroit.