How to Plan a Super Bowl Company Party or Special Event

Recreate the Stereotypical Casual Super Bowl Party for Corporate Guests

corporate Maxim Super Bowl XXXVI Party
Maxim Super Bowl XXXVI Party. Michael Caulfield Archive/WireImage/Getty Images

Let’s face it, actual attendance at the Super Bowl and its related events is likely out of reach for most. But that doesn’t mean that corporate and other special event planners should forego the idea of organizing their own Super Bowl party or pitching a Super Bowl special event to their clients. When it comes to planning a special event for the Super Bowl, here's what you should know.

Planning a Super Bowl Event

First and foremost, find out where and when the event is scheduled.

Details about the Super Bowl's date and time are available well before the teams to play in the event are announced. While the teams that play certainly have a personal impact for some football fans, the Super Bowl itself is one of the most watched sporting events every year. Fans whose teams aren't represented still turn out in great numbers, making a Super Bowl event a great option for a host of different applications from client and employee appreciation events to networking events. The Super Bowl itself is always scheduled on a Sunday evening, but there are several special events that may be held either that day or prior.

Okay, so the date is the easy part. Now, let’s assume you want to organize a party for Super Bowl Sunday itself. For great party ideas, it’s the Super Bowl-related events that the NFL organizes are a great place to look for inspiration.

Super Bowl Party Ideas for the Game Itself

Most private Super Bowl parties are centered around watching the game itself - or at least watching the famous commercial breaks.

These parties are most commonly thought of as the stereotypical family room gathering with snacks, beer, and a big screen. Here are some ideas from the venue to the food for recreating that feeling for a special corporate event.

Event Name/Theme: Identify a theme that incorporates the Super Bowl name and whatever key theme or message is the focus on for the evening.

Is this an appreciation event or a networking event? As always, knowing the objective will inform the implementation of the theme.

Venue: Many options exist for this type of event. Consider hosting a private event at a local sports bar (good examples include ESPN Zone, Dave and Busters, or a similar type of venue). Or, you can get creative and create your own event space by converting a local hotel’s ballroom into a giant "family room."

Catering: Create a buffet that includes a mix of appetizers, entrées, and desserts that can remain fresh for an extended period of time. Dinner should be setup and available about 45 minutes prior to the game itself. Event Planning Tip: Find food inspiration from any of the menus available for suites at your local NFL stadium.

Entertainment: While the game itself can be the center of the entertainment, another idea for a seriously impressive event is to hire one or more local football/sports celebrities or football legends to join the event. Everyone enjoys meeting sports celebrities, and they are particularly apropos for a Super Bowl event. In addition, make sure that you include background music in the room when guests arrive and prior to the game.

Décor: If you are creating your own Super Bowl living room at a hotel or other venue, make sure to rent a range of leather couches, chairs, tables and numerous plasma TVs.

Choose colors to support the teams as well as your organization. You might also consider displaying official game banners and merchandise. Check out the official website of the host committee city for official items.

Gifts: No corporate event is complete without guest goodie bags. Consider giving guests NFL gear and merchandise from the favored team for the game. It is also helpful to provide merchandise with the hosting organization’s name or logo on it.

If your Super Bowl event is an adult-only affair, perhaps you can find some inspiration from the NFL Experience After Dark. This is an exclusive party for adult fans that is held on an evening prior to Super Bowl itself.

"After Dark" Super Bowl Party Ideas for the Saturday Before

The NFL Experience After Dark is a Saturday night event that features the host stadium’s team cheerleaders, great music, and celebrity guests.

Here's how you can create your own version of this Super Bowl event.

Event Name/Theme: Identify a theme that incorporates the Super Bowl “After Dark” name and whatever key theme or message you want to focus on for the evening.

Venue: Secure the VIP space or private room at a popular, local nightclub.

Catering: Because this is more of a late night event, it’s important to incorporate several different appetizers using stations and/or passed hors d’oeuvres. Of course, great cocktails will be expected. Event Planning Tip: Based on the profile of your guests, it’s usually more cost-effective to purchase alcohol on consumption as opposed to a flat price per person with a minimum number of hours.

Entertainment: The club will usually have its own DJ, and it’s best to include this in the banquet event order. That said, one of the best ways to replicate the success of the NFL After Dark party is to hire some of the NFL cheerleaders from the team in your hometown or city to mingle with the guests.

If you have an even greater budget, consider hiring a local NFL player to join your party as well.

Décor: Work to incorporate your organization’s brand into the atmosphere of the club. Work with your club’s special event planner to find out what he or she may be able to do to associate your organization with the NFL After Dark party you want to create.

In addition, be sure to obtain official game banners and merchandise for the event.

Gifts: Be sure to provide NFL gear and merchandise from your favored team for the game. It is also helpful to provide merchandise with the hosting organization’s name or logo on it. But remember, this is a party, so guests will not want to carry anything large or heavy at the end of the night. If that’s the case, showcase the gift and notify guests that their gift will be shipped to their office or home address.

For Super Bowl Party Ideas for Family Events, see page 3.

If your Super Bowl event is a family affair, perhaps you can find some inspiration from the NFL Experience. Here's how you can create your own version of this Super Bowl event.

Family-Friendly Super Bowl Party Ideas

The NFL Experience event incorporates youth football clinics, Super Bowl cards, entertainment and more into one multi-day event in the days leading up to the game itself.

Event Name/Theme: Identify a theme that incorporates the NFL Experience concept with the hosting organization’s name and primary objective.

Venue: Work with a local college or university to secure their football stadium for a truly authentic atmosphere. In February, an indoor stadium is generally best.

Catering: Choose food and beverage that complements a tailgate menu, including barbecue items, picnic food and snacks, juices, etc. The catering can be casual for this type of daytime event.

Entertainment: Reach out to the university’s athletics department to organize kid-friendly activities like children’s football clinics, small scrimmages focusing on skills, and participatory games. Try to organize many different concurrent programs, including other activities such as local dance and cheer competitions. If you have the ability to hire football legends to attend the day event, even better! Also, make sure that you include fun musical entertainment whether it's live or with a DJ.

Chalk Talk: As part of your day’s events, after the formal welcome comments, ask the university coaches to hold their own chalk talk about the teams and players at the upcoming game.

If you are able to offer this special activity, be sure to include a Q&A session.

Gifts: Every corporate event should include gifts, so consider ideas that will be useful for the family, and pay more attention for gifts for the children than the adults. Of course, the hosting organizations may also wish to provide guests with logo merchandise of their own.

If you’re organizing competitions as part of the clinics, make sure you have awards for every child that plays.