There’s nothing quite like fall football. The weather is a little crisper. You happily wake up earlier on the weekends (Saturday for college, Sunday for professional) to prepare wings, chili, or your famous seven-layer dip for a tailgate with friends. For sixty minutes of play, eleven men on a field embody your love of your alma mater, your city, or just sports in general as the feats of athleticism you witness make you marvel at the human body. On game day, anything can happen if your team has enough heart and time on the clock.
We only get to enjoy football season for sixteen weeks—just thirty percent of the year. If you don’t have tickets to the game, you can still tap into the excitement of game day by transforming your media room (your living room or basement could work, too) into the ultimate sports venue. Follow these four steps to create a space where friends and family have the best view of the game, can enjoy tasty snacks, and will possibly even engage in some friendly trash talk.
Show Love to the Home Team
Whether you live in Philadelphia where everyone is an Eagles fan (or else!), or you’re the lone Chicago Bear in Green Bay, Wisconsin, you have to represent your team. Show your team spirit with posters or framed jerseys, or by serving drinks in your favorite Jacksonville Jaguars pint glasses. Consider adding decorative throw pillows or blankets with your team’s logo or colors. When new friends come over, they need to know where your loyalty lies.
Make Sure Your TV and Sound System are Up to Snuff
You don’t have to have a wall-sized television like at a sports bar (though wouldn’t that be nice) to enjoy game day. A television with a clear picture, preferably broadcast in high definition, will give you a great view of the game—probably even better than if you were in the stands. If your media room gets a lot of natural light, put up some curtains or blinds to make sure that you can watch day games without a harsh glare. Pump up the volume to hear the crowd noise, the quarterback counting off before the snap, and the inevitable rantings of a frustrated coach. If you have a large group of friends coming over to watch the game, consider looping your audio through your stereo (or invest in surround sound) so that you can hear the play-by-play amongst the cheers and jeers.
Please the Crowd with Comfortable Seating and Plenty of Snacks
Though there is sure to be plenty of jumping up and down, make sure your guests have a comfortable seat to enjoy the game from—one of the distinct advantages of not being at the actual game. If you have the room, these oversized leather recliners (pictured) are the perfect way to lounge and enjoy the game. A nearby mini-fridge is great for keeping waters, sodas, and beers handy for quick refills. Set out a variety of hearty snacks (especially important if your guests are imbibing) on a flat, steady surface like a table or built-in bar to help satiate guests throughout the game.
Be Mindful of the Reluctant Football Fan
Someone always brings a friend to your home who isn’t particularly interested in sports. Rather than feeling the need to constantly entertain this guest (and missing the game yourself) or ignoring them entirely, think about incorporating some fun activities into your space for the non-sports fan and for enjoyment during half-time. An air-hockey, ping pong, or pool table are all fun activities and great ice breakers for guests who may not know each other well. If you’re limited on space, set out a deck of cards or a simple board game (Jenga is a great one) that the crowd can participate in without taking too much attention away from the game.