5 tips for having a game watch party


Students watch a football game together Jan. 10 in Spruce Hall. Colin Kulpa Buy Photos

Whether it’s the Super Bowl or NCAA March Madness, any big game deserves a great watch party. But how does one go about throwing a successful party?  Galen Clavio, an associate professor of sports media at IU, shared some tips. 

Who to Invite

While you may be inclined to invite everyone you know to your party, Clavio warns against it. Instead, he said you should craft your invite list wisely because typically everyone invited will show up.

An excess of people could be problematic for a number of reasons. For starters, your party space could just simply be too small to cram into and would result in an uncomfortably tight situation. Another problem could be accidentally inviting people you might not necessarily want to have there.

“Make sure you’re inviting people that are contributing to the overall aura of the watching experience,” Clavio said.

Start Time

In terms of when to start the party, Clavio recommends beginning the event at least 90 minutes before the game starts. 

If the party features more than one game, it is safe to begin around the time of the first game. By doing so, guests are free to come and go as they please to watch the many games. 


When it comes to throwing a party for the big game, the food can often be more important than the game itself. Clavio said he encourages hosts to have a game plan for food and to create a menu for the party.

The best way to accommodate everyone’s appetites is to prepare two main courses for guests to choose from, Clavio said. For the first main course, Clavio usually grills something in large quantities, like chicken, hamburgers or hot dogs. This can then be paired with the secondary main course, which should differ from the first, but still work in tandem. 

“Chicken and hot dogs are a really good pairing because you could eat just the chicken, or just the hot dog, or you could say 'hey, I’m going to do both of these,'” Clavio said.

To ensure that all of your bases are covered with food, communicate your menu to your guests beforehand and ask them to bring a side dish, drink or dessert. 

It is important to have the food ready to go at least 30 minutes before the game, Clavio said. 

Watching the Game

Technology can be tricky, and you most definitely do not want to be fighting your television set right as the big game is tipping off. To steer clear of such a party foul, Clavio suggested testing your technology before guests get there.

The game-watching experience can be enhanced by using multiple televisions. These can either be used to play the same game or stream different games at the same time. If you do not have access to numerous screens, you can also flip between channels to showcase multiple games during the party.


When it reaches game time, guests will sort themselves into different zones. There will be the people that actually sit down and attentively watch the game,  the folks who sit back to converse with others and then the people that are further away from the action. To accommodate for such groups, it is best to bring in extra seating to supplement other furniture.

“If you’re the host, you have to understand that you are probably not going to be able to just sit there and watch the game," Clavio said. "You’re going to have to float between groups and make sure everyone is having a good time.”

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