With NFL season and Labor Day just around the corner, it’s that time of year where friends and family gather together for a party in someone’s living room for game night. The yearly scramble each Labor Day for snacks, chicken wings, and party decorations is a tradition almost as sacred as the big game watch party itself. But if you’re planning on hosting a game night party at the last minute and you want to make sure it’s a success, then we’ve got a few tips that will help you pull it off in style.
This year’s watch party might look a little different from previous years. Many families and friend groups will be gathering virtually after Labor Day to watch the game together in the comfort of their own homes. Whether you’re hosting a remote watch party through Zoom or you’re preparing your living room for the onslaught of some hungry football fans, here’s what you need to know to get the party started.
What You’ll Need
There are a few things you’ll want to pick up before Labor Day to make sure you’re fully stocked for game night. In addition to snacks and decorations, these are the must-have things you’ll need for your watch party.
1. Media Streaming Devices
Many people watch the big game through cable, but a lot of families are starting to cut their cable subscriptions in favor of streaming services like Netflix and YouTube TV. If you don’t have cable, then you’ll need some sort of media streaming device like an Amazon Fire Stick or a Roku Streaming Stick. This will help you broadcast the big game on your TV and make sure that you watch the action in all its HD glory.
2. Streaming/Video Conferencing Apps
In addition to a streaming device that airs the game to your TV, you’ll also need a subscription to a service that gives you access to the big game. Apps like YouTube TV, Yahoo Sports, and Sling TV allow you to watch live sports online. If you’re choosing to host a remote watch party, then you’ll also need a video conferencing app like Zoom or Google Hangouts to give everyone access to the game.
3. Electronic Accessories
The last things you’ll need to host a big game watch party in person are a few vital accessories for your electronics. External speakers will help you amplify the sound from the television to fill the room (a challenge when it’s full of rowdy football fans). An extension cord will also help you plug in any external speakers or other devices you may need without you having to worry about finding the nearest outlet. Lastly, a power strip is a handy tool to make sure you’re not overloading any outlets so that you can keep your devices safe.
Tips For Planning Ahead
Once you’ve signed up for your streaming service and gotten all of the accessories you need, there are a few things you’ll want to do before the big day to make sure there are no technical snafus.
1. Test The System And Apps Ahead Of Time
The worst thing that can happen during your watch party is for the system to crash in the middle of the fourth quarter of the game. Make sure to test the sound system beforehand to ensure it comes through crystal clear. Check to see that your subscription to your streaming service is active and that you know how to work any streaming device on your TV.
If you’re hosting the party remotely, you’ll want to test out the video conferencing software to make sure you know how to use it. Double-check how long you’re allowed to use the app, as certain apps like Zoom will cut you off after 40 minutes unless you’re using the paid version. While Zoom allows you to host up to 100 guests at a time with its free version, each app is different. Make sure you have what you need for your party.
2. Keep The Cables Organized
Cable management for a television, streaming device, and an external speaker can get tricky. You’ll want to use something like the Cable Station Pro to hold all of your cables together. This cable management product will organize your cables for your home entertainment system and media devices so that you don’t mix up the different cables. You can even write on it to identify which cable belongs to which device.
If you’re trying to keep all of the cables in one system grouped together, then a cable management product like the Cable Slinky will keep everything in one manageable bundle. It expands to fit all small and large cable bundles so that your home entertainment system doesn’t look like one giant mess of wires.
3. Keep Cords And Power Strips Out Of Sight
Safety is another important consideration for your big game watch party. Big crowds in a tiny space can leave room for accidents and falls, so it’s important to remove any tripping hazards to keep your guests safe. If you’re running an extension cord from your device to a far away outlet, use a Carpet Cord Cover to keep it pressed down across the carpet. Not only will this make your living room safer for you and your guests, but it will also keep the place looking tidier without visible cords.
If you’re using a power strip, then the In-Box Cable Box will hide and store your power strips out of sight. This will keep any curious toddlers away from potentially dangerous plugs and ensure that your home is looking clean and ready to receive guests. It also has a specialized flap on the lid to help you access the wires whenever you need to, giving you easy access to unplug things once game night’s over.
Once you’ve gathered everything you need, tested out your systems, and secured all of your cords and cables with cable management products, your living room will be ready to host game night. Follow these tips and make this year’s big game watch party the best yet!