How to host a fun, football playoff watch party



January is among the colder months of the year, but for football fans things are just starting to heat up when the calendar turns to a new year.

In addition to featuring the College Football Playoff semifinals (January 1) and championship game (January 8), January also ushers in the National Football League playoffs, which begins with wild card weekend on January 13. That schedule can warm the hearts of football fans no matter how cold it may be outside.

With so many great games on the horizon, now is the time for football fanatics to brush up on their hosting skills. A game watch party is a great way to enjoy the action with fellow fans, friends and family, and the following are some ways hosts can take those football festivities up a notch.

• Provide ample room and seating. When hosting a party for the big game, pick a room in the house with enough room and seating to accommodate all of your guests. Folding chairs can be brought in to the viewing area to ensure everyone has a seat, but the right viewing area is one where additional seats won’t make everyone feel as though they are sitting on top of one another. A basement or open concept living room makes for an ideal viewing area.

• Set up more than one viewing area. Football certainly has its share of fanatical fans, but it also has plenty of casual fans who may attend a watch party to socialize more than see the action. Multiple viewing areas can accommodate various types of fans and solve any space and seating issues that arise. A separate kids-only viewing area also can accommodate young fans.

• Stock up on finger foods. When planning a watch party menu, keep in mind that most people will be eating in the viewing area instead of at a dinner table. Finger foods are ideal in such situations. Hosts who want to cook for the crowd can prepare small dishes like meatball or chicken sliders, chicken wings and frozen pizzas cut into bite-size pieces. And don’t forget portable snacks like pretzels, chips, diced vegetables with hummus, and nachos.

• Take your tech for a test run. Food and accommodations might garner the bulk of hosts’ attention in the days leading up to the big game, but don’t forget to take your tech for a test run. Many homes have abandoned traditional cable television in favor of streaming services, so if your home is among the legions of cord cutters, confirm in the days ahead that your streaming app is working and that you have the latest version of the app installed on all devices that will be used to show the game. Check speakers as well to ensure everyone can hear the broadcast clearly regardless of where they’re sitting.

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