Group of friends watching football.

10 Tips For Hosting The Ultimate Big Game Viewing Party, Virtually Or Within Your Bubble

Lauren Nowacki6-Minute Read
February 09, 2021

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means we receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. Please check out our disclosure policy for more details.

The big game is kicking off soon, but unlike years past, this one will be attended by only a third of Raymond James Stadium’s capacity and watched on screens in separate homes.

While plans for a different kind of game day carry on, players and coaches aren’t the only ones preparing for the spectacle. Across the country, fans are finding new ways to host viewing parties. Whether your party is limited to your quarantine bubble or held virtually this year, you can still score big with these hosting tips.

What Is A Viewing Party?

A viewing party is a private event at a home, community space or online where people watch a specific event together – either in person or virtually. This is typically done for an awards show, TV or movie debut or, most commonly, an important football game or other sporting event.

How Do You Throw A Viewing Party?

Together, With Your Household

Keep your viewing party limited to only your household or small, quarantine bubble to enjoy the game safely. While there’ll be fewer attendees, you can still have a great time by adding decorations and serving good food.

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 the game begins, 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 out.

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 celebrate each successful play with the proper cheering equipment. Purchase clappers, whistles and foam fingers for fans who like to get loud. Lay out markers and paper for fans to make their own signs. Create mini team flags by hot-gluing colored felt onto wooden sticks and 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 things 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 someone in celebration of a team’s victory.

Create brown paper 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.

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 viewers 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 dip, cocktail weenies, deviled eggs, sliders, pizza or walking tacos.

And don’t forget to provide healthy and meatless options for those who have restricted diets. Such options could include stuffed peppers, snack nuts or buffalo–style cauliflower “wings.”

If you have some in your household 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.”
  • 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

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 everyone in your household and that it’s within view of the TV. If members of the household are there just to enjoy the company and not the game, provide additional seating at a table away from the action, too.

Tip #5: Set Up Your Defense

Even the smallest party can get a little messy. Prepare for the mess ahead of time to minimize spills, stains and other accidents. Put valuable and breakable items away before the game starts. 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.

Build your dream home theater.

Take your viewing experience to the next level with pro installation.

Virtually, With Your Favorite Fans

One of the safest ways to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home. We’re lucky enough to live in a time when we can stay home and still hang out with all of our friends. Thanks to virtual platforms, you can still watch the party together, even when you’re apart. Here’s how to make it more fun.

Tip #1: Create Your Roster

If you’re hosting a virtual viewing party this year, make sure you make a list of invitees and send out your e-invites with the link information ahead of the game. Before you can provide link information, you’ll need to choose a platform to host your party. Here are a few free options:

  • Zoom allows you to host 100 guests for up to 40 minutes for free. To host beyond that amount of time, you’ll need to upgrade or find someone who already has the plan to host the party.
  • On Skype, you can host 50 people for the game for free.
  • On Facebook Messenger Rooms, viewing parties of up to 50 people can last all night – and attendees don’t need a Facebook account to participate.
  • Google Hangouts lets you video call up to 10 people for free.
  • If all of your attendees have an Apple device (iPhone, Mac, iPad), you can FaceTime a group of up to 32 people for free.

Tip #2: Don’t Get Tackled By Technology

Sign on early to make sure you have the right link and the platform is working. You’ll also want to make sure you have a strong internet connection or you’re in an area with good reception. While you’re attending the virtual party, make sure you’re aware of the camera and mute functions in case there’s a time you don’t want your guests to hear or see something.

Tip #3: Decorate Your Background 

Make screen time more fun by decorating your background for the game. Hang banners, flags and jerseys or post your handmade signs behind you. Or create a virtual background with the image of a football field or Raymond James Stadium or pictures of your favorite players or your favorite team’s logo. Use your photo–editing skills and get even more creative. Photoshop you and your friends cheering in the stands or holding up the Vince Lombardi Trophy in victory. 

Tip #4: Up Your Hashtag Game

Create a hashtag for your specific party so guests can interact on social media and show off your fun virtual party to the world. Encourage attendees to take pictures throughout the game and upload them to their social media accounts with the event’s official hashtag.

Tip #5: Coordinate Your Menu Line Up

Food is one of the most important parts of a viewing party. Once you’re all on screen, have everyone show their snack table. To make it feel more like you’re all together, you could even coordinate your food options so you’re all enjoying the same appetizers during the game. Make it a little more interesting by holding a competition on whose dish looks the most appetizing or is the most festive.

If this year isn’t your year to host, but maybe next year will be! If you’re looking for the perfect home to host events and build memories, Rocket Homes® 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.

Build your dream home theater.

Take your viewing experience to the next level with pro installation.

Need a real estate agent?

Match with a local expert.

Get Started

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.