Two young couples watching sports on TV, cheering for their favorite team. They're enjoying popcorn, beer, and chips while watching the game.

This Is What You Need to Host a Game Day Watch Party

There’s a lot that goes into planning and hosting a party, especially when it’s themed around big sporting events. It’s often too much for one person to handle on their own. As you’re planning your game day party use this list to delegate and prepare to score.

Here’s a checklist for planning your next big game watch party:

TV Room

  • Extra seating
  • A quality TV
  • A soundbar
  • Smart lighting
  • Folding tables


  • Cookware
    • Pots, pans, etc
    • Cast iron skillet
  • Slow cooker
  • Air fryer or deep fryer
  • Ice maker
  • Cutting board or serving board


Main Dishes

  • Wings
  • Pizza
  • Hot dogs and bratwursts
  • Chili
  • Sliders
  • Hamburgers


  • Mac ‘n’ cheese
  • Mozzarella sticks
  • Salads
  • Grilled or roasted vegetables


  • Chips and dip
  • Charcuterie board
  • Potato skins
  • Fries
  • Jalapeno poppers


  • Cheesecake
  • Brownies
  • Ice cream
  • Themed cake or cupcakes
  • Cookies


  • Alcoholic
  • Non-alcoholic


  • Cups
  • Dishware
  • Utensils
  • Napkins
  • Paper towels
  • Trash bags

Sports Watch Party Checklist in More Detail

Now that we’ve gone down the main checklist, let’s go through things in more detail. Below are some of our favorite items from these categories to help you explore your options.

A Big Screen for the Big Games

You can’t cheer for your favorite team without a large enough screen to watch it on. Not to mention the epic commercials that you won’t want to miss. And of course, you’re going to want a great big high-definition TV to catch all the highlights.

What makes a TV good for watching sports?

Truth be told, there’s no best TV for sports. Choosing a good TV for watching sports depends a lot on what matters most to you when you’re watching TV. To help you make a decision that’s right for you, use the info below to help you evaluate your options while shopping.

Refresh Rate 120Hz or 60Hz

120Hz is the highest standard refresh rate among TVs in 2024. This refresh rate will keep the action smooth and blur-free as you enjoy this year’s big sporting events. If budget is a significant factor, 60Hz TVs still do a great job at rendering smooth on-screen action.

Picture Quality or Resolution

4K Ultra HD TVs are your best bet for watching sports events this year. Many support high dynamic range (HDR) so the action on the field or in the court will always stand out. Most if not all modern 4K TVs have built-in image upscaling as well, so outside of game day you can enjoy older content in astounding ultra-high definition.

Expert Insight

CEO of, Oleg Segel, sees several trends around products bought and sold around the first two months of the year. About which TVs people look for around this time, Segel said, “Predominantly, 4K Ultra HD TVs take the lead due to their high refresh rate and exceptional resolution, perfect for capturing the fast-paced action of the games.”

Panel Type

The two most popular panel types these days are QLEDs and OLEDs. In general, QLEDs get brighter than OLED TVs, but OLEDs offer striking contrast. If you’ll be cheering for your team in a bright room, then a QLED will be a better fit. Still, OLEDs aren’t far behind in terms of brightness, plus they also offer overall higher image quality.

Viewing Angle

Another difference between OLEDs and QLEDs is their viewing angle. Viewing angle is how we talk about the range where the on-screen image is the most accurate. The wider the angle, the better the image will be in a large room with a lot of people watching. OLEDs typically have a much wider viewing angle than QLEDs. But, as mentioned above, QLEDs can be more wallet-friendly than a new OLED.

When do TVs go on sale before big sports games?

Usually, you’ll see TVs for sports events go on sale about a week to two weeks before the big sports events. That way you’ll have enough time to get it ordered, delivered, and installed before your watch party.

One of our favorite TVs for this year’s events is the LG C3 OLED. It’s available in 42, 48, 55, 65, 77, and 83-inch screen sizes all at 4K.

For more information about TV specifications and features, check our article: When TV Shopping, What Do All Those Letters Actually Mean?


You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a great quality soundbar for your big game watch parties. The main benefit of getting a soundbar for a big game is to give a boost to the dialogue and music. You can get this from entry-level to midrange soundbars that offer a few different channels. Hi-end soundbars can offer 11 or more front-facing channels with a sub, and multiple up-firing channels.

Smart Lighting and Ambience

Sad you can’t be at the big game yourself? Make your TV more immersive with programmable smart home dynamic lighting. Connect your TV or media player to a sync box and watch the magic happen as your lights reflect the onscreen action. Phillips has a whole line of Hue products that work together for dynamic and immersive lighting in your living room. 

Smart lighting systems are also programmable for a full spectrum of color combinations. Many also feature responsive animation effects for a more dynamic experience.

Author’s Pick: Nanoleaf Lines Smarter Kit (9 Light Lines) 

Cyan, white, and purple lights above a TV creating dynamic lighting.

“I bought the Nanoleaf Lines Smarter Kit after Thanksgiving, and I love them. I’ve used cheap lightstrips before that haven’t worked very well, or just haven’t stuck to the walls consistently. These light lines haven’t shifted at all and have so many easy-to-use light modes. These are seriously the most impressive RGB lights I’ve ever had.”

Sports Watch Party Essentials – Outside of TVs

Now, if you’re all set in the TV department, what else do you need for hosting a watch party? Here are our favorite products that can help you put together a winning spread.

Essential Food Prep Items for Sports Watch Parties

Prep Game Snacks in an Air Fryer

Fry up a batch of delicious game food snacks in a matter of minutes without dealing with hot oil. Not only can you just toss in your ingredients–it fries up quickly without making a mess. They’re easy to use and clean, so you can make a lot of food for all of the friends you have coming over. And of course for you and your family any other day of the year.

You can make all kinds of deep-fried goodies like:

  • Chicken fingers or nuggets
  • French fries or sweet potato fries
  • Pizza bites 
  • Potato skins
  • Homemade tortilla chips 
  • Fresh onion rings
  • A blooming onion
  • Crispy tater tots
  • Popcorn
  • Fried pickles
  • Rolled tacos
  • Flautas
Our favorite air fryers:

Can’t Forget Cookware

You can’t make your favorite snacks without having something to cook them in, right? They’re an essential part of your kitchen and a full set of cookware is a great way to make sure you’re ready to host sports fans and other guests all year round.

Our favorite cookware set:

Rachael Ray 11-Piece Aluminum Nonstick Cookware – Light Blue/Gray 

Fry Up your Favorite Finger Food with a Deep Fryer

There’s nothing like greasy deep-fried favorites to snack on while watching your favorite sport. If you’ve been putting off buying a deep fryer, maybe now is your time to give it a try! Here are just a few of the finger foods you can fry up for you and your guests to enjoy:

  • Buffalo wings
  • Coconut Shrimp
  • Mac and cheese bites
  • Mozzarella sticks
  • Jalapeno poppers
  • French fries
We Recommend:
The Cuisinart 4-Quart Deep Fryer

Slow Cookers – Make Crowd-Pleasing Favorites Way Ahead of Time

Use them for yummy chili, spinach and artichoke dip, pulled pork, or some grape jelly meatballs. Slow cookers, really sell themselves. They’re a way of life and if you’d like to get into using a slow cooker more often, then yes, it’s worth it.

Our recommended slow cooker:
Complete Cuisine 6 Quart Slow Cooker

Use it to try this spinach and artichoke dip from Spicy Southern Kitchen!

Countertop Icemakers – Perfectly Cooled Drinks for the Whole Party

There are a lot of reasons to buy a countertop ice maker for your kitchen. One, it’ll help you make sure everyone’s drinks are at the perfect temperature. Two you can make craft cocktails with it using crunchy pellet ice, the best kind of ice, that will wow all of your guests. 

If you’re looking for recommendations, one of our favorites is the GE Profile Opal 2.0 Ice Maker

And if you want to take your home bar game to the next level, you could also get a Bartisean Cocktail Machine to make mixing up drinks super easy while chilling them perfectly with nugget ice.

Make Sure You Have a Nice Cutting Board

Before you slice, dice, or chop your game day snacks, you’ll need a cutting board. Or take this Gourmet Series Cutting Board from Epicurean and set up a charcuterie board. Whether you’ve been needing one for a while, or have been meaning to make an upgrade, now’s a good time to replace your old knife-marked cutting board.

A Food Processor for Faster Ingredient Prep

These are pretty much an essential kitchen item for busy people. They save so much time and make it easier to prepare a wide variety of ingredients. My first impression is to use a food processor for chopping vegetables. If that’s your perception, have you thought about using your food processor for these kinds of recipes?

  • Grinding up meat for from-scratch hamburgers or game-day sliders.
  • Whipping up a mean salsa to snack on with chips or complement some tacos or burritos.
  • Whipping up some deviled eggs.

You can also start doughs for rolls, mix up creamy dips like hummus, and create smooth fruity sauces to fill out the flavors of your party’s spread.

Our recommendation:
Cuisinart Core Custom 10-Cup Multifunctional Food Processor 
Cast Iron Cooking Pans

One of the most versatile and durable pieces of cookware that you’ll ever own. Use it on the stove, in the oven, or over an open flame. Cook anything from main courses, sides, and desserts for your game-day party.

Here are a couple of iron skillet recipes that would be perfect for game day.

Cookware can seem like an odd fit for an electronics store, but we want to make sure you have everything you need to host a great party whether you’re watching football, basketball, hockey, or soccer. Plus if you get a pre-seasoned cast iron skillet, it will give whatever recipe you’re cooking up that extra crispy and delicious finish your guests will love.

We Recommend:
Lodge 12 inch Seasoned Cast Iron Yellowstone Skillet 

Well, those are our top picks for what you need to have on hand to make all the sports watch parties this year a memorable viewing experience. We hope these recommendations will help you make your “Big Game” and March basketball watch parties unforgettable.

For more appliances and recipes to help you prepare for game day, check out our article BIG GAME DAY APPLIANCES & SNACKS.