The leaves are turning brown, school is back in session, and the weather is cooling down. But we don’t really care about any of that. Football is back and that is all that matters.
Whether you are a fan of the game or not, the social opportunities are a major part of football season. The return of this sport signals the start of another wonderful Fall tradition that goes hand in hand with our pigskin friend: Tailgating.
The perfect tailgate can be difficult to achieve but when done right, it can be an excellent way to connect with friends and family, cheer on your favorite team, enjoy some delicious food, and make the most of your weekend.
The team at HappyHourHelp understands that there may be game days where you won’t be able to attend the classic tailgate experience at the stadium.
For when your team has an away game but you still have the motivation to plan an epic tailgating party, you may be interested in hosting a virtual tailgate party for all of your friends to tune in and attend. Don’t you worry though, we are here to provide you with everything it takes to deliver a winning tailgate. We’ve done the research, tried the recipes, and threw an event ourselves to test out these virtual tailgate ideas.
To help you out with some of the key aspects of a one-of-a-kind tailgating experience, we put together this guide to help plan a virtual tailgate party that will have everyone going home with a “W.”
Table of Contents
How To Host A Virtual Tailgate
1) Select A Video Conferencing Platform
There are too many video solutions to count these days but the great thing about the options is that more and more people are familiar with how to use a video conference platform to engage with friends and family. It may take a few tries to get Grandpa and Grandma up and running at your virtual tailgate, but getting everyone around the virtual barbecue will be well worth it in the end. Due to the rise of remote work, most people are familiar with Zoom or Microsoft Teams, so that may be a good place to start.
2) Find A Time And Game To Watch
This part is crucial as it can help to predict who and how many people will show up to your virtual tailgating experience. Take a moment to find the time of kickoff for the game you are most looking forward to and plan to host the tailgate about 1.5-2 hours before kickoff to let everyone have time to chat and warm up for the game.
You may have some people who are die-hard fans who are absorbed in their gameday, but an added perk to hosting a virtual tailgate is that even the most ardent of fans can show up to your event for 5 or 10 minutes to say hi and chat with some like-minded sports fans. No more waiting in traffic on the way to the stadium, all it takes is a simple log on and you are right there in the action.
3) Double Check Your Streaming Access
Once the game starts you won’t have time to troubleshoot solutions to stream or broadcast the game from your virtual tailgate party. Whether you are using your own cable provider or streaming using a premium streaming service, you will want to double check that the game will be on and working properly so that everyone can have an opportunity to enjoy the main event.
Pro-tip: You may require a password to access your cable provider on your computer, so make sure you are logged in or have the password handy when it is time to turn on the pre-game commentary.
Virtual Tailgate Party Ideas
4) Guess The Half Time Score
For this tailgate idea, simply open up a spreadsheet on your computer and ask everyone to message you their prediction for the half-time score for each team. The person with the closest answer can be awarded a special prize. It can be something small (Like a 5$ gift card) that the winner will still be happy with and be able to enjoy their success. At half time, you can share your screen over the virtual tailgate call and show everyone the winner and how close the runner-up participants were to half time glory.
5) Virtual Watch Party Bingo
A standard 5 by 5 bingo card has a total 25 squares of bingo-tastic placements. If you have some time to craft a one-pager in Google Docs, a virtual bingo game is a great way to keep friends and family engaged during the game. Make sure to choose some sport-specific squares along with some more general options to round out the bingo square:
- Beer commercial is played
- Defense forces an interception or fumble
- Family of player is shown in the crowd
- Quarterback runs for a first down
- You see a player drinking water or gatorade
You get the point…
6) Cocktail / Mocktail Party Mixologist
Now that is some high quality H2O! Enjoying your weekend tailgate with a delicious beverage or two can be an excellent way to relax and participate in some stimulating conversation with your peers. To kick your virtual event off in style, lead everyone through a mixology class to learn the basics of crafting a delicious alcoholic beverage. For those who do not wish to get a little tipsy, substitute the booze for another beverage option and enjoy your mocktail with the group as you watch the kickoff.
Pro-tip: Break out the cocktail playbook and announce a game-themed cocktail for people to collect the supplies to make before game day. The Food Network has a Gatorade Margarita that the folks at HappyHourHelp give two big thumbs up.
7) Sports Trivia
Let the true trivia masters shine in a Sports trivia event to get your friends engaged in some healthy competition. After dividing everyone up into two teams and letting them choose their team name, alternate giving questions to each team to see who knows their sports trivia and who doesn’t. If the first team does not send in the correct answer, let the other team steal the point. You can find tons of sports trivia questions online via sites like this one, or go onto Wikipedia and start crafting the trivia questions yourself.
Pro-tip: You can send both teams to breakout rooms to meet each other and chat before starting the virtual trivia contest. That way both teams have a chance to get to know each other and agree on a team name.
Virtual Tailgate Games
8) Touchdown Pro
Beware…This game will become addicting for at least 5 minutes. An excellent icebreaker to kick off your virtual tailgate game session is to send this link out to your participants and let them play this online mini game designed to see how many linebackers you can dodge on your quest to amass the most amount of touchdowns possible. This game is not easy, but it sure is fun to try out.
9) Virtual Tailgate Scavenger Hunt
In this at-home version of the legendary searching game, you will be able to run an entire scavenger hunt from your computer screen. To begin, allow everyone to stand up and get ready to find items in their house and return to their webcam to secure a place in the next round.
The last person to bring back the particular item to their webcam is eliminated and the remaining players prepare for the next round. For some scavenger hunt ideas, we’ve given you some objects to potentially include in your virtual scavenger hunt:
- A candle
- Something caffeinated
- A plant
- An egg
- A book
This classic mind game is perfect to play virtually as the only materials needed are your brain and a few topics to get you started. The way Categories works is one person will start by naming a category. Here are some example categories to get you started:
- Breakfast Cereals
- Brands of Beer
- European Countries
- Television Game Shows
- Famous Memes or GIFs
Once the first person starts the game by naming a category the next person in order must name an answer that fits into the category but one that has not already been said. So, once an answer is used, it becomes locked and cannot be repeated.
Here is a quick game example that the HappyHourHelp team played with “NFL Quarterbacks That Have Played This Season”
Tom Brady…Aaron Rodgers…Patrick Mahomes…Russell Wilson….Dak Prescott…Peyton Manning….Stop!
Since a player said an incorrect answer the round ends and that person then had to start the new round with a new category. Here are the 3 ways a round can end:
- An incorrect answer is given
- A person cannot think of an answer after 5 seconds
- A person gives an answer that has already been played
11) iMessage Cup Pong Tournament
This classic tailgate game replaces the red Solo cups and tailgate table with your smartphone. Craft a quick tournament-style bracket and let opponents play a game of Cup Pong over iMessage. The winner advances to the next round until you have a final championship game to preside over. Once the winner is crowned, send them a little something as a reward for outlasting the cup pong competition.
Virtual Tailgate Tips
1) Dress to Impress. If you have any apparel of your favorite sports team then you should represent your team for everyone on the call to see.
2) Bring snacks. Since you won’t all be crowded around the snack table, it will be a much better time for you if you have some delicious game day snacks to munch on while you chat with friends and cheer on your team. Reminding your tailgate peeps to bring their own snacks can help them pick the right choices in terms of healthy happy hour options that fit their ideal tailgate spread.
3) Disconnect to reconnect. While you will be reliant on technology to broadcast your virtual tailgate to everyone invited, take this as an opportunity to put down your smartphone and enjoy life in real time. Trust us, it will be there after the tailgate.
4) Theme Your Tailgate. Whether you want to celebrate your favorite team or your favorite place to vacation, your event may be even more fun with a theme that can get people to relax a bit. You can help to solidify the theme of your party by starting off with a virtual happy hour to break the ice as people log on. Some simple ideas could include:
- “Wear A Jersey From a Different Sport”
- “Island Tailgate” with Hawaiian shirts
- ‘Classy Tailgate” involving slightly upscale snacks and game
5) Don’t forget your charger. You may want to attend your virtual tailgate from the comfort of your own couch. That means your laptop or tablet charger will need to be close at hand when your battery starts to die. Come prepared and avoid having to hunt through your house to find that pesky charger.
6) Try a breakout room. When the party starts to ramp up and the conversation gets a bit crazy in the virtual hangout, try out a breakout room where you can talk to a couple of people without having to communicate with the entire party.
You are officially ready to plan the most memorable virtual tailgate party of the fall. Tailgating season is a time to bond with your friends and family. You may not always be able to spend it together, but through a virtual tailgate, you will all be able to celebrate the big game from the comfort of your own home. Cheers to seeing you on gameday!