Sometimes, going to a sports arena is impossible. Perhaps the tickets are beyond your budget or got sold out early. Or perhaps there are extenuating circumstances that led to stadium closures. The global COVID-19 pandemic, for example, has caused the indefinite cancellation of games and has prohibited mass gatherings like sporting events.
When these situations happen, how can you then enjoy watching your favorite sports teams play? The answer lies at home! Here are a few tips in recreating a sports stadium atmosphere in your own backyard whether you’re watching live games or replay:
Get a Projector
If you and your friends are going to watch the game in your living room, then your typical 30- or 40-inch LED TV is more than enough. However, you’re going to need a bigger screen if you’re going to bring the party to your backyard. Consider renting a projector and use a blank wall or a clean sheet as your screen. (You can also rent a screen and stand along with the projector; just make sure that the stand won’t fall over.) While you’re at it, get some extra speakers so you can clearly hear the exciting commentary from the announcers.
Get Portable Bleachers
Set-Up Some Snack and Drink “Kiosks”
Another important element in creating that sports stadium feel in your backyard would be the refreshments. Pick the classics such as hotdogs, crackerjacks, pretzels, popcorn, roasted peanuts, and nachos for more cred. For drinks, you can’t go wrong with soda. You can throw in some beer, if you like; just remember to assign a designated driver or have your friends stay over if you have enough space.
You can also customize your menu based on the game you’re watching or the team you’re supporting. For example, if you’re watching the NFL, try making some football-themed cupcakes. If you’re watching the NBA and support the Lakers, consider serving some doughnuts with purple and yellow sprinkles.
Decorate, Decorate, Decorate
For a festive atmosphere, decorate your backyard with streamers and banners in your team’s colors. If you have some team uniforms lying around, you can hang them overhead like retired jerseys of legendary players. You can also put some bandannas, flags, or foam fingers on the bleachers so your guests have something to cheer with. You may also want to consider placing a welcome arch made of balloons on the doorway. Another great idea is to set-up a backdrop for taking fun souvenir photos. Don’t forget the wacky, witty props!
Prepare Some Halftime Games
Live sports events always have halftime games and activities to entertain the fans as they wait. Some games are a little hard to recreate due to space constraints, but you can easily invent some of your own. For basketball games, get a clean trash can and some plastic toy balls or crumpled up pieces of paper and shoot some hoops. Trivia games are simple but quite fun, especially if you pit two die-hard fans against each other. If you’re watching the Superbowl, try a commercial bingo where the items on the cards are the brands who are likely to show memorable TV spots. To make your halftime games more exciting, allocate some small prizes for the winners.
Don’t Forget the Restroom
During sports events, a trip to the restroom is inevitable. Scrub the toilet a day or two before the game and make sure you have supplies for everyone. Include plenty of toilet paper, hand soap, and paper towels. For a bit of a fun touch, add some signs to direct your guests. This is especially helpful for those who are coming to your home for the first time.
Have a Plan for the After-Party
After the game concludes, don’t send your guests back home immediately. Prepare some post-game activities and soak up the post-game euphoria. If the two sides that played are long-time rivals, you can easily launch a discussion about the finer points of the match. You can also continue some of your half-time games or simply play some upbeat tunes as you finish munching on the remaining food. Once everyone’s ready to go home, bust out some party poppers for one last hurrah. (Extra points if the confetti colors match those of the winning team.)
There’s nothing like watching a sports event live. Nothing compares to the energy, the electric, infectious vibe that you share with fellow fans who love a good game as much as you do.
Due to the effects of COVID-19, however, it’s hard to say if the way we used to conduct sporting events will remain the same. If or when they do return to normal, then well and good for sports fans. If not, then you can follow these tips to replicate the atmosphere of a sports arena in your backyard.