by Stefanie Michaels
When I’m back in Los Angeles, I want to hang on the couch with my animals and have friends over. We’re a US-type football family, and now that LA has two teams, this means double-party hosting for me.
Hosting a party for a sports event is the best way to bring friends and family together, and there’s always a bonding over a game, no matter what sporting event. At the end of a season, whether the Super Bowl or baseball playoffs, I always theme it for everyone and add little surprises for fun.
- Set up a viewing area for the game: Ensure guests have a clear view of the game by setting up a TV or projector in a central location. Our couch is where our main TV is, but I always set up a secondary space for those more interested in socializing than the game.
- Provide snacks and refreshments: Offer a variety of snacks, such as chips, popcorn, and pretzels, as well as non-alcoholic drinks, such as soda and water. When I put out snacks, they aren’t always junk food. I’ll make a charcuterie board with hummus, grapes, low-calorie dips, and veggies for those looking for healthy ops.
- Create a betting pool: Encourage guests to place bets on the game by picking the winner or guessing the final score, adding excitement to the party. My husband handles the competition, and the winner gets something silly, like a special cupcake or the title of “winner” for the day. Some friends are more serious about betting and use online apps to place their bets.
- Organize a halftime competition: During halftime, organize a competition, such as a trivia game or a relay race, to keep guests engaged and entertained. We have a small putting green area in our backyard. It’s easy to set up croquet or lawn ball for friends who take breaks or are those socializing and looking for something outside to participate in. I often find those side activities become as competitive as the sports game on tv!
- Set up a tailgate area: If the party is taking place outside, set up a tailgate area where guests can grill burgers and hot dogs. We keep the grill on and condiments out. It’s an excellent way for guests to cook what they want when they want on game days.
- Encourage team spirit: Encourage guests to wear their favorite team’s colors or jersey, which can create a festive atmosphere. We always encourage themed sportswear for our guests. Our dogs even have t-shirts with our favorite teams on them!
- Have a backup plan for the game: If the game isn’t as exciting as you hoped, have a backup plan, such as a board game or a movie, to keep guests entertained. Use places like an outside table or dining room area to put games out on. I include coloring books and art items for friends to get creative.
- Serve themed food: Serve food relevant to the game’s time. For example, serve breakfast food if the game starts early morning or serve heavier food like barbecue if the game begins in the evening. I’m not a cook, so I keep things manageable. Quesadillas and grilled cheese sandwiches for a morning game, and then keep that barBq going for later game times. Offer alternative options to hamburgers and hotdogs by keeping salmon and veggies to grill in the fridge.
TIP: My friends are my family, and I always say, “Mi casa es tu casa!” I encourage and insist they make themselves at home by grabbing something from the fridge or grilling when they want. It takes a lot of pressure off the hosts and makes them feel they are part of the family.