6 Must-Haves for Your Football Season Kickoff Party
The long wait for football season is almost over, which means fans can stop dreaming about their weekly dose of pigskin and start repping their team.
With the skyrocketing cost of season tickets and parking — as well as advancements in TV technology — many fans are choosing to bring the tailgate experience right to their living rooms.
You can root for your team just as effectively from your couch as from the upper deck of a sun-drenched stadium all for a fraction of the cost. Below, we’ve put together six essentials to help you kick the season off right with an epic football watch party.
1. Team-Themed Decor Helps Set the Stage
If it were up to me, the only decorations at a football watch party would be wing-sauce-stained paper towels on the coffee table. But my wife is a bit more creative and enjoys crafting a cohesive theme as much as she enjoys watching the game. We even have a stadium-themed baking pan that she uses for desserts and appetizers alike.
But you don’t have to spend a lot of money for your party to be coordinated. Consider ordering some inexpensive football-themed decorations from Oriental Trading Company. The store has everything from generic football-themed items to team-specific cups, plates, banners, and balloons.
Keep in mind that many decorations can be used for multiple parties, and if you use an Oriental Trading Company promo code on your purchase, you could buy a season’s worth of party supplies for well under the cost of a single game ticket.
2. From Appetizers to Desserts, Crock Pot Dishes Save Time
The set-it-and-forget-it nature of the Crock Pot is just one of its many advantages when preparing food for a party. The number of delicious gameday Crock Pot recipes is mind-boggling. From dips to wings to pulled pork, you can combine the ingredients in the morning, and, by gametime, you’ll have a mouthwatering dish with minimal effort.
Another useful feature Crock Pots offer is a setting to keep food warm throughout the game so guests don’t need to reheat anything. Crock Pots are inexpensive — especially if you can find a good deal — and can last for many football seasons to come.
3. Upgrade Your TV Setup So Guests Can Follow the Action
Your guests won’t have a good experience if they can’t follow the game, whether it’s from cramming around a small TV or chatter drowning out the ref’s calls. But those problems can be easily solved with some surprisingly affordable upgrades to your TV setup
While you don’t need to get new tech every season, you should consider getting a new TV if you’ve had it since you were in college. Luckily, TVs are regularly discounted throughout the year, so you’re never too far from getting a good deal.
As new TV models come in, older models go on sale for up to half off the original price, which means you can go for a larger set without increasing your budget. Plus, you can usually find a Best Buy promo code to stack and save on your purchase as you upgrade.
Pro Tip: Easily create stadium seating by setting up barstools behind couches, love seats, or other chairs to make sure everyone can see.
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4. A Good Grill Turns Your Football Party Up a Notch
I can’t remember the last game party I attended without eating food from the grill. Some of my best football memories are accompanied by the smell of BBQ chicken, burgers, and corn all searing on the grill.
If you don’t already have a grill, there are many options to consider: gas, charcoal, portable, and electric. Gas grills can be more expensive upfront but last longer, while charcoal versions are less expensive (though they take extra time to heat up).
Walmart has an extensive collection of grills online — including portable and electric options, too — and you can often find Walmart promo codes to bring the cost of your grill down at checkout. Plus, Walmart offers in-store pickup for grills in stock, meaning you won’t have to pay shipping.
5. Cold Drinks Are Required, But You Can Ask For Help
Ice-cold beverages — whether soda, tea, beer, or mixed drinks — are another staple of a good football party, but can quickly become an expensive menu item if you’re not careful. You can buy in bulk from a wholesaler, like Costco or Sam’s Club, but the costs can still add up.
Don’t be afraid to ask your guests to pick up a few beers on their way over to the party. For guests, it is a reasonable — and easy — request to fulfill. Beyond just the BYOB approach, you could also ask them to bring mixers, limes, or ice, which can help offset your drink-related costs.
But don’t rely solely on contributions, you should buy a few drinks to get the party started. And if you have leftover drinks from the previous week, consider stashing them in your fridge to put out at your next party.
6. High-Quality Access to the Game (Even If You’re a Cord-Cutter)
If you live within the coverage area of your favorite team, you may not need a cable subscription to watch most of your team’s games.
With an HD antenna, you usually can pick up local stations that broadcast games (mainly NBC, CBS, and Fox) without a monthly fee — unless the games are blacked out. And you can find a durable HD antenna online from Antennas Direct for less than $50.
But, if you’re a cord-cutter that lives far away from your team’s stomping grounds, you can still save by taking advantage of advancements in streaming technology. Cable alternatives, like SlingTV, PlayStation Vue, and DirecTV Now, now offer slimmed-down packages that include many ESPN channels for a fraction of the price. ESPN, which mainly airs college football, is also rumored to be releasing a standalone streaming app — similar to HBO Now — sometime later this year.
Win or Lose, Make Sure Guests Have Fun Watching the Game
Once you have these six things covered, your house may soon become the official destination for watching football games every week — just remember to be prepared for kickoff.
If you throw a good party for the game and your team wins, it can feel like a success on a massive scale. If you throw a good party and your team loses, at least you had fun — and you can always root against your rival if they play later in the day.
With these six essentials covered, you’ll be sure to enjoy the season, win or lose.