5 March Madness Watch Party Essentials
The Cinderella stories. The upsets. The bracketology. Whether you’re an avid college basketball fan or just enjoy picking your bracket based on the mascots, March Madness is an exciting time. This year, share that excitement by hosting your own watch party for your family and friends with this winning starting line-up. Here are 5 helpful tips for making your March Madness party a slam dunk.
1. Chow Down on Game Day Classics
Food for your March Madness party should be simple and easy to eat with your fingers. Chicken wings, jalapeño poppers, pizza and nachos are classic game day go-tos. Take your finger food game to the next round by choosing foods that correspond with some teams in the tournament. For example, serve mini hot brown sandwiches in honor of Kentucky or pulled pork sandwiches for Kansas. For dessert, decorate cupcakes in your favorite team’s colors or use orange and black icing to create mini basketballs.
It’s not a party without libations, and March Madness allows for lots of creativity for drinks. If a local team is in the dance, keep a cooler full of beer from area breweries. You could also choose local favorites from other teams in the tourney. Keep cocktails simple so that you don’t have to spend your whole party tending the bar. Try premixed drinks like margaritas, sangria and mojitos that you can mix up before the party and let people serve themselves. For the 21-and-under crowd, have bottles of Gatorade (bonus points for orange flavor to tie into the basketball theme!) and bottled water on hand.
2. Don’t Skimp on the TV
The bulk of the party will be watching the games, so you’ll want to have a nice-sized TV. If you can swing it, set up several TVs to watch multiple games at once, especially during the first rounds. Put your TV(s) in a spot where everyone can comfortably view it, providing spots for people to sit and watch if they want to. Think creatively for extra seating, repurpose poufs and stools as seating. Before the party, check your cable connection to be sure no one has to experience an expected blackout.
If your household is lacking the ideal television, many rent-to-own businesses and furniture rental companies offer short-term rentals. If you’re in the market for a new TV anyway, keep an eye out for sales right before the Super Bowl and the weeks leading up to the start of March Madness.
3. Up Your Bracketology Game
One of the best parts of March Madness is picking your teams and watching them advance along your bracket. Some people spend hours pouring over game notes and expert tips to pick their bracket, while others choose teams based on school colors, mascots or friends who attended that school. No matter how you choose, elevate your bracket game at your party with fun games and contests.
For each game that you watch, award prizes to the guests who choose the winning team on their bracket. You can also pass out prizes for guests who correctly guess the total final score, how many players foul out of the game or the winning team’s field goal percentage. Be sure to have extra brackets on hand for guests who haven’t had a chance to fill one out yet.
4. Entertain Guests with Other Games
While the basketball games are the main attraction, have other games for guests to play during halftime or in between rounds. Break out the PlayStation or Xbox for a round of NBA Live or NBA2K. Head outside for a real game of hoops, horse or knockout. Let your guests show off their skills. You could also put up small basketball hoops around the house for trick shots and alley-oops.
5. It’s All About the Ambiance
Tie it all together with a fun ambiance. Have all your guests wear their favorite basketball jersey or other collegiate team wear. If your guests are willing to go all out, ask everyone to wear their best face paint and offer a prize for the coolest design. Join the fun too, donning a referee shirt and whistle to call any party fouls and award points for participation. Make the party atmosphere extra fun by playing Jock Jams songs in the background. Most party stores sell basketball-themed decorations. You also can’t go wrong with simple black and orange streamers and balloons.
No matter how you party, just remember to be safe and have fun!