The Ultimate March Madness Viewing Party Guide (Slideshow)
March 9, 2017
Have the best possible NCAA tournament with these handy party ideas
The Ultimate March Madness Viewing Party Guide
Throwing the ultimate March Madness party requires planning, plenty of your favorite tailgating dishes, and a cozy viewing area with as many TV screens as there are games. So fill out your bracket, grab an ice-cold brew, and get ready to have the best March Madness ever!
Set a Specific Party Date and Time
March Madness extends from March 14 to April 3 this year and runs (nearly) every day at the beginning of the tournament. You don’t want to be hosting your friends for days and days, so pick a specific party date and time. There’s no right or wrong time to throw a March Madness viewing party, as long as basketball is on TV.
Send Out Party Invitations
We recommend you keep things simple with your party invitations and send out a simple event invite via Facebook or email. If you want to really take your party to the next level, send out paper invitations complete with basketball decorations and paper versions of a March Madness bracket for your guests to fill out.
Start a Bracket Pool
You can’t even begin to think of a March Madness party without a bracket competition. Either by going online or printing off ballots, wager a friendly bet between your friends to see who can correctly guess the outcomes of the most games. Whoever wins at the end of the tournament gets bragging rights (and maybe some cash).
Create a Baller Playlist
Curate a playlist of your favorite pump-up jams or basketball-themed songs for the spare moments between games (or when the commentary just gets to be too much). May we recommend some of our favorite cheesy basketball songs — such as the Space Jam theme by Quad City DJ’s, Aaron Carter’s “That’s How I Beat Shaq,” or Jamie Foxx’s “Winner.”
We’re not saying that you need to brand all of your bread with your favorite team logo, but decorations can help to take any party from OK to spectacular. You can either theme your party around your favorite college b-ball team or alma mater with its colors and mascot or go with a generic NCAA basketball theme with orange and black décor.
Have Multiple Screens
The entire point of a March Madness viewing party is to watch a ton of basketball, so be sure to have several screens running at once. If your TV has the capability, use the screen-within-a-screen feature. If not, set up a few laptops with games streaming online so your home can feel just like a sports bar.
Record Some Games
During the peak madness of the NCAA tournament, there can be up to four games on TV at once, and you’re not going to be able to catch each and every one of them live. If you’re dedicated to watching every matchup, don’t forget to set your DVR for a few games to watch during lags in the action later at your party.
Make Your Viewing Area Extra Comfy
Make your living room the coziest place on the block so your friends can enjoy the game in total comfort. Pull in extra chairs from other rooms in your home, pile on the blankets and throw pillows, and point everything toward the TV.
Dressing on theme is a fun and simple way to get really into your party, so don’t be afraid to do it. Wear your college sports apparel, be it from your favorite participating team or your alma mater. If you really want to get into theme dressing, throw on a referee’s jersey and whistle and call out any party fouls you see.
Stock a Cooler Full of Beer
Don’t Forget Non-Alcoholic Drinks
Make a Cheese Ball
You need a few spherical menu items to tap into your basketball-themed March Madness party, and what better way to honor b-ball than with a bright orange cheese ball? Blue, Cheddar, and Neufchâtel cheeses combine to make this appetizer cheese ball our favorite.
Set Up a Big Buffet
Keep all of your food situated in one central area for your viewing party. Take all of your concession stand snacks, grilled items, appetizers, and desserts and line them up at a long buffet table. Don’t forget the paper plates and silverware!
Have a Game Room
Having a separate area for kids to burn off energy — or for uninterested party guests to gather so they don’t interrupt the big game — can really make or break your party. Set up a few board games and a few indoor basketball hoops.
Host Your Own March Madness Competition
If you happen to have a basketball hoop in your yard, play a few rounds of HORSE or one-on-one to burn off excess energy (and all that indulgent food). You can even create a mini-bracket with your friends and crown your own ultimate basketball champion.
Hold Basketball Trivia
If the basketball games aren’t enough competition for you, host your own version of bar trivia with NCAA-related questions. Asking something like “Who is the all-time leading NCAA Division I scorer?” is sure to separate the real basketball fans from the fakers.
Place a Basketball Hoop Over Your Trash Can
Want to make clean up really fun and easy? Have your guests do it themselves by placing a small basketball hoop over your trash can. Having your friends pick up their own soda cans will now be almost a game. Just don’t let them know it was your master plan all along.
Take Turns With Friends
Because March Madness lasts for the better part of a month, you can’t be expected to host every single game night. Have your friends host a night or two of the NCAA tournament and be sure to be as good of a guest as you are a host.