Fall is almost here, along with the beginning of the long-awaited football season. High school, college, and NFL games are starting, and fans all over the country are geared up to cheer on their favorite teams. Fantasy football leagues are also kicking off, with groups of competitive NFL enthusiasts gathering to make their top picks. These draft parties are the first of many events surrounding the sport. While many get together at a local bar to draft or watch the big games, create a league of your own and host simple gatherings that guys and ladies will love. For our league draft party, we implemented simple elements surrounding favorite things associated with football...subtle enough to not take away from the focus of picking top players.
1. Limit decor. Choose pieces that will blend.
Most likely if the party is focused around football, no one will really care if there are touchdown signs or football shaped balloons around. The key to creating the atmosphere is very simple. Set up the room with tables and chairs that are appropriate for what will be happening. Accent the tables with fabric that represents team colors, or the print of a referee uniform.
2. Serve fan-favorite foods.
Stay away from new, experimental recipes and focus on the popular foods that many crave when sitting down to watch a game. These may be items that would commonly be purchased at a local sports bar, but made at home with a twist. We served hot wings with T's "Secret Sauce," accompanied by fresh cut celery, carrots, and creamy ranch. Dips and chips brought by others were perfect to snack on throughout the evening. Other great ideas could include a Nacho Bar, Chili, Hotdogs or just a spread of bite-size appetizers.
3. Let everyone play.
When hosting a large group of people, providing all the food and beverages can get pricy. Let everyone play a part and invite your guests to bring something to share. For our league kick off, we had everyone bring their favorite dip to share. Among the favorites were a Buffalo Chicken Dip, Caprese Dip, Fruit Salsa, and Dunkaroo Dip. Guests will get excited about showing off their specialities. After all, it is a competitive environment.
4. Provide a little assistance.
For many Fantasy leagues, most know what they are doing and already have a strategy. For newbies and the unprepared, a little help wouldn't hurt. We printed off NFL "cheat" sheets for guests to use as a guide and compare their picks to the professionals. This was both a conversation piece, and a good bit of information. Also, as the host or league commissioner, make sure everyone is on the same page and knows the process of what's going to happen to keep things running smoothly.
5. Choose a league that can have a little fun.
With any group or event, it all comes down to the people there. When choosing a league or inviting others to viewing parties, pick those who can have a little bit of fun and get along with each other. Although it is about competition, you don't want to dread the group you are around. You will get more out of the season if you can laugh and have a couple of beers with the group.