Sports have a way of bringing people together and creating an air of excitement. If you love sports and want to share the big game with family and friends, hosting a party is a great way to do it. Whether your crew is into football, basketball, or baseball—or tennis, swimming, or cricket—you can cheer on your team in good company, along with drinks, snacks, and entertainment. Whether you win or lose, you’ll have a good time hosting the ultimate party with these easy tips.
Food: The Main Event
Food is the centerpiece of every party, so make sure you have some delicious goodies prepared. Here are a few ideas to help you create yummy foods to keep your guests fed and fueled.
Appetizers. Get everyone excited for the big game by serving some delicious appetizers. Try a tray filled with meat, cheese, and crackers or some veggies and dip. Go above and beyond by making some warm, delicious crab dip or spinach dip with slices of pita bread. Cut your meat and cheese into football shapes to give the appetizers a fun, sports-themed twist. If your favorite team is playing, make some food that’s a classic for the locals. Other favorites include tortilla chips and queso or guacamole.
Wings. Nothing says sports party quite like chicken wings. When you make the wings, be sure to include a few different sauces that range from mild to hot. Use a chicken wings recipe that will ensure they turn out nice and crispy. You can add to the fun by creating a “wing bar” that includes a variety of different sauces and spices for your guests to try.
Ribs. When it comes to sporty snacks, ribs are always a fan favorite. You can make baby back pork ribs in the oven that will come out tender and crispy for the big game. If you’re worried that ribs might be too messy, consider adding them to tacos, or shred them for delicious pork sandwiches instead.
Sandwiches or pizza: Handheld foods are ideal for sports parties, since most people will probably be mingling or cheering on their team. Serve sandwiches on football-shaped rolls, or create a simple sandwich bar where everyone can create their own using different ingredients. For pizza, you can arrange the pepperoni or other toppings into the shape of your team’s logo or a sports-inspired design.
The vegetarian and vegan option: Create a range of delicious snacks and foods for the vegetarians and vegans on your guest list. A beautiful board filled with veggies and dip is one easy way to provide appetizers. Try a delicious, hot, and creamy spinach and artichoke dip along with toasted pita bread or tasty crackers; or you can always go for the eggplant chips, a delicious and healthy snack to munch on.
Healthy options: Now more than ever, should we be steering towards healthier food options, which can be incredibly delicious as well. If you’re aiming for some tasty, healthy snacks, hummus is a good place to start. Other healthy options for your sports party include fresh pico de gallo and kale chips, or delicious tofu sticks. Look for ways you can prepare old favorites using healthier ingredients. Choose healthy foods; your body will thank you.
Drinks: Sports Party Companions
Of course, you’ll need to provide a variety of drinks to go along with your snacks. From beer and soda to cocktails, here are some quick ideas to help you get started.
Beer. Provide a variety of beers for your guests, ranging from classic to light. Craft brews are highly popular, and you can also serve some beers from the local regions of each team that’s playing. If you don’t want guests constantly going into your fridge, fill a large cooler with ice and a variety of different beers. Make sure you provide a bottle opener, too.
Wine. Offer a variety of wines for those who prefer vino to beer. Once you have a food menu, select wines that will pair nicely with some of your main dishes.
Cocktails. There are countless beverages you can make for a sports party, but a great example of easy cocktails that will make your guests happy is a simple alcoholic punch. People can refill their glass whenever they want, and you won’t need to worry about mixing individual drinks. A Bloody Mary is another popular drink that’s easy to make. Serve delicious Micheladas for a spicy, Mexican-themed beverage.
You can also spice it up and explore some new and delicious recipes to delight your guests’ palates, such as the Barbados rum punch cocktail.
Non-alcoholic options: Of course, not everyone will want to drink a beer or cocktail, so make sure you provide plenty of non-alcoholic beverages, too. Bottled water, sodas of all kinds, and fruit juices are perfect choices for kids and guests who prefer not to drink alcohol during the big game.
Hot drinks: Football season takes place during the colder months, so serve up a few hot drinks at your party. Hot chocolate with mini marshmallows is a fun choice, as is some delicious hot cider. If you want to add alcohol, make a mulled cider that includes a bit of wine. Of course, don’t forget the coffee – many people love to sip on coffee after a meal or during the game.
Decorations make it festive
From hockey to football and beyond, adding some fun decorations will make your sports party more memorable. Check out these quick and easy tips for sports décor.
House decorations. Hang your team’s flag outside on your porch, or display a banner inside for the big game. If you have memorabilia from your favorite team, be sure to put it on display, too. Signs featuring the two opposing team’s names is another easy idea for house décor.
Cups and plates. You can find paper cups and plates in a wide variety of sports designs. For example, if you’re hosting a soccer-watching party, look for plates and cups covered in soccer balls. The same applies to other sports including baseball, hockey, and football.
Furniture decorations. Drape a throw featuring your team’s logo over your couch to show off your fandom. Cover a table with a sports-themed tablecloth to make your food presentation festive. Hang a team banner across your wall or mantle for a fun touch.
Yard decorations. From flags to yard signs, you can decorate the front yard to welcome your guests in a fun way. Check your local party supply store for a range of unique sports-inspired yard signs, too.
DIY decorations. Get crafty, and create your own custom decorations for the party. Draw your team’s logo on a large poster board to hang above the TV. Fill a large bowl with footballs, golfballs, or hockey pucks, or hang streamers or balloons in your team’s colors.
Entertainment: Before and After the Game
Whether you’re waiting for the game to start or you want the party to continue after the game is over, there are several things you can include to provide additional entertainment to your guests.
Board games. Break out a variety of board games to keep guests engaged. It can be anything from chess to checkers or a group game, such as cards or charades, as long as everyone is having fun and interacting.
Video games. If you have a gaming console, offer it to your guests to use, maybe even set up a tournament.
Trivia. A rousing game of sports trivia is a great way to break the ice and get everyone excited for the main event.
Karaoke. If you’re feeling brave, buy or rent a karaoke machine for the party so everyone can sing their favorite tunes.
Ball games. Set up a basketball hoop, cornhole boards, or a volleyball net in your backyard for a few rounds of outdoor sports action.
Charades. Come up with some creative sports charades, and have everyone play before the game starts. You can even give out sports-related prizes for the winners if you choose.
Music. Every party needs music to make it fun, so create a playlist you can enjoy in the background. Choose songs or themes that go with the occasion, like team songs or inspirational rock n’ roll.
Drinking games. Drinking games can also be a fun activity to do before or after the game, an activity to get warmed up before the game or relax afterward. Remember to have a designated driver.
Contest. You can create a fun atmosphere by creating a contest related to each sports game, from football to the olympics.
Seating Arrangement Ideas
Here are some ideas to ensure that your guests are comfortable and happy throughout the party.
Comfortable chairs or couches: Make sure you have ample seating for all of your guests, such as recliners, cushy couches, and comfortable chairs so that everyone can see the game and relax.
COVID-proof: If you’re concerned about social distancing, arrange individual chairs at least six feet apart. You may have to have a smaller headcount, but it will be worth it to keep everyone safe. If it’s nice outside, pull the TV out to the patio, and have an outdoor party, where it’s easier to distance. Don’t forget to give everyone easy access to wash their hands.
The best seats. Arrange your seating around the television, and make sure that each seat has a good vantage point of the screen. You may need to rearrange some things, but it’s important that everyone attending your party has a great view of the game.
Tips to Make Your Sports Event the Highlight of the Year
From food and drink to décor, here are some other tips to ensure that your sports event is unforgettable.
- Hire a nanny to care for the kids so you can enjoy the party kid-free.
- Hire a bartender and/or waiter who can mix drinks and serve food to your guests, freeing you up to enjoy the moment with your friends.
- Have a designated driver and/or use a ride share service so that everyone gets home safely and avoids the risk of drunk driving.
- Hire professional help for the cleanup. Drinks get spilled, couches get stained, and your house might experience some undesirable stains that you’ll want to remove.
- Keep it eco-friendly with labeled glasses and plates instead of disposables. Label each plate and cup with your guest’s name so they can use the same items throughout the night.
- Set the thermostat at the right temperature. Whether you’re celebrating winter sports or summer games, keep your home’s interior temperature at a comfortable level.
- Keep the camera ready to catch the magical moments. Take lots of photos and videos of your party that you can share and tag people on social media.
- Make sure the bathroom it’s ready for use by providing plenty of hand soap, toilet paper, and clean towels so guests can dry their hands.
- Set up a large table for food and drink in the living room to avoid clutter in the kitchen and make it easier to pop more appetizers in the oven and prepare more dishes as food runs out.
Whether your favorite spectator sport is basketball, hockey, golf, volleyball, or football, it’s easy to be the ultimate sports party host. Just provide plenty of food and drinks along with great entertainment for before and after the game, and your guests will have the time of their lives cheering on their favorite team.