Celebrate the highlight of the NFL season by throwing a party to watch the Big Game. From an Americana playlist to themed drinks and snacks, here are our top tips for marking one of the biggest events on the global sporting calendar. One of the biggest events of the global sporting calendar, the Big […]
Celebrate the highlight of the NFL season by throwing a party to watch the Big Game. From an Americana playlist to themed drinks and snacks, here are our top tips for marking one of the biggest events on the global sporting calendar.
One of the biggest events of the global sporting calendar, the Big Game marks the culmination of the NFL (National Football League) season — and it promises to be packed with knuckle-biting, highly entertaining moments. If you’re planning to tune in, you’re in good company: come the 11th February, millions of people worldwide will have their eyes trained on Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, to see if the Kansas City Chiefs can defend their title against bookie favourites the San Francisco 49ers.
For many, the halftime show is as big a draw as the game itself. This year, R&B legend Usher will be performing to the crowds, while country music icon Reba McEntire will sing the national anthem before kick-off. Also on the bill is Grammy-nominated Rockstar rapper Post Malone, who will sing America The Beautiful, and singer Andra Day, who will perform Lift Every Voice and Sing.
While American football is particularly popular in the United States, it’s growing in popularity across the globe. For Brits, throwing a watch party for the Big Game can be a fun and unique chance to experience some classic American culture. Here’s how to go about it.
Get the basics right
The Big Game takes place on Sunday, 11th February at 11.30pm UK time (6.30pm ET), although it’s worth tuning in early to catch the pre-game entertainment and commentary. The first half is set to last about 90 minutes, the halftime show will start at about 1am, and the match is expected to finish at about 3am (it’s a late one for us Brits!).
Don’t fall at the first hurdle — if you’re in charge of the night, make sure you’ve got a large screen TV or projector to broadcast the game (and test the set-up before your mates arrive!). In the UK, the game is being broadcast live on ITV1, with coverage also available on Sky Sports NFL and Sky Sports Main Event.
Choose a venue
Decide where you want to host the party. It could be at your home, a friend’s house or even a rented venue if you want to go all-out. If you want something less pressured, there are venues all over the UK hosting parties for the Big Game, from Belushi’s in London to Bierkeller in Birmingham. Check out this round-up from Design My Night for a whole range of options. Just make sure to book ahead — or at least get there early!
Hone your guestlist
To throw a party, you need a guestlist. Whether you’re aiming for an intimate gathering or a full-on crowd, don’t limit yourself to inviting people who are already American football fans. After all, this is the ideal way to convert any naysayers! You can even integrate time to explain the rules into the event.
Just make sure everyone is aware of the timings in advance and is prepared to take the following day off — or spend Monday morning napping at their laptop. And if you’re heading out to a ticketed event, first check there’s capacity for you and your friends.
Set the vibe
If you’re hosting at home, create an atmosphere with themed decorations. Think team colours, banners and other football-related items to set the mood (if you’re not very crafty, Etsy is a great place to find themed decorations). Make sure there are plenty of comfortable seats around the screen for everyone to enjoy the game. You could even throw in some cushions, blankets or bean bags to up the chill factor.
Encourage guests to wear jerseys or clothing representing the team they’re rooting for. You can also provide face paint or temporary tattoos in team colours for added spirit!
Music is almost as important to the Big Game as the sport itself, so set the mood and keep the vibe upbeat with a playlist of Americana hits. Swifties might want to add a couple of Taylor Swift tracks in honour of her relationship with Kansas City’s tight end, Travis Kelce (although whether Swift herself will make an appearance at the game remains to be seen…).
Nail the food and drinks
An American institution deserves classic American game day snacks. Cheesy dips are a staple of any tailgate, while sticky buffalo chicken wings are the perfect finger food (be sure to have plenty of napkins on hand to mop up the mess). Throw in some nachos, sliders and maybe a pizza or two and you’ve got yourself the ideal all-American spread! For dessert, brownies, cookies or a freezer stocked with ice cream are fail-safes.
When it comes to drinks, beer is the obvious option — and there are plenty of great non-alcoholic versions for any friends that prefer to avoid alcohol — as well as classic American soft drinks like Coca Cola (helpful for keeping your energy up as the night goes on!). If you’re up for getting creative, you could design a signature cocktail for each of the competing teams. Make up a couple of jugs earlier in the day and you’ve got low maintenance themed welcome drinks to offer your guests.
Set up your own entertainment
A little friendly gambling can add an extra dimension to the fun! There are some brilliant Big Game Bingo templates online you could print out for people to complete during the game (with squares including the likes of “Offensive Timeout”, “Pepsi Commercial” and “Play Reviewed”) or you could get creative and make your own.
Other pregame and halftime entertainment ideas include a mini talent show (karaoke, anyone?), an American football trivia quiz, beer pong or NFL mascot matching. You could even set up a DIY photobooth area with themed props — why not capture some silly memories as the night goes on?
Don’t miss the adverts
Just like the halftime show, the adverts are a classic part of the Big Game. With a viewership of hundreds of millions of people, it’s advertising’s biggest stage, meaning that global companies pull out the big guns during their 30-second spots, hoping to get people talking about their brand.
This year, look out for high-profile names like footballing icon Lionel Messi in an ad for Michelob Ultra beer, Wednesday star Jenna Ortega in a Doritos ad, comedian Kate McKinnon promoting Hellmann’s Mayonnaise and the Beckhams repping UberEats.
Stick around for the post-game debrief
If you and your guests have any energy at the end of the game, don’t miss out on one of the best parts of any sporting event: the post-game debrief. From the game highlights to Usher’s internet-breaking moments, swap your favourite memories from the night before you head up to bed in the early hours of the morning.
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