The Big Game is one of the most anticipated events of the year, but this time around we won’t see a packed stadium or the usual parties and events with cheering fans.
However, there are still ways for football fans across the county to come together around the chips, dips and TV. Hosting a virtual Big Game party via video calls or smart displays makes it possible to be in the same room even if you are football fields — or states — apart.
Whether you’re hanging on every play or just tuning in for the commercials and halftime show, here are a few tips to enjoy a fun online gathering for the Big Game.
Set up your second screen
Even though you probably can’t gather with friends and family this year, there are still ways that tech can help you all watch the game together. But you’re going to need a second screen in addition to your TV.
Stay connected throughout the game by using devices like Amazon Echo Show or Facebook Portal, which automatically pans and zooms to keep up with the action in the room. Once the game is over, these devices can help you share other big moments or turn into full-time assistants with capabilities like managing your smart home tech or catching up on the day’s sports highlights.
Test your tech in advance
The first thing you should do is pick the platform for your virtual gathering. Whether you choose to go with platforms like Zoom or use tech you already have like smart displays, choose an option that suits your party (and your guests) best.
Ask your guests to download and try using the platform or device in advance so there’s time to troubleshoot, especially for those that might not be as tech-savvy.
Pro tip: Adding in voice assistants to use as your party hub (and help control music, smart lights and even cooking timers) will create an atmosphere worthy of the championship trophy.
Crowd-pleasing snacks at the ready
Even if your friends won’t be able to taste your award-winning chili or guacamole this year, it’s not a Big Game party without snacks. Create an Instagram-worthy tailgate spread by adding tools like the Ninja air fryer or a pressure cooker to your kitchen lineup (plus, you’ll be able to spend less time cooking and more time watching the action on the field).
You can even hold a photo contest that puts the spotlight on the gameday favorites guests have cooked up —. we’re talking pizza, buffalo wings and more. Before the game, have your guests vote for their favorite party food. After all, we’ve been to enough Big Game parties to know a delicious and well-executed dish when we see one (even if we can’t taste it).
Show your team spirit
Make sure everyone on the video call knows who you’re rooting for by donning your favorite team’s colors. Get the party going by putting up some fun decorations or even inserting a virtual background with the logo or a photo of the stadium.
Add to the action
Even though the Big Game is the star of the show, it’s never a bad idea to have a little extra fun with party games that will keep guests entertained and engaged. For example, you could set up a game of virtual football bingo or create scorecards where guests can compete to see who can guess the first team to score or the first song at the halftime show.
If you can’t seem to get a word in between the cheers and jeers, use the chat function on the platform you’re using or create a group chat to have a running dialogue with your guests. This will make it easy to play party games, see what everyone’s reactions to each play are and critique this year’s best — and worst — commercials.
Click here to get ideas on how to up your Big Game viewing experience at home.