Some of the greatest sports moments in history happen in the kitchen! ~ Anonymous

The 2017 Big Game at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas is a championship game that’s more than primetime television – it’s a national tradition. This game day is also the second largest food consumption day in the U.S., after Thanksgiving!

In 2015, the match between New England and Seattle was the most watched U.S. television broadcast in U.S. history, with 115.2 million viewers, according to Nielsen. Last year’s 2016 game drew 111.9 million viewers and ranks third. Consider these etiquette tips for game day success.

  1. Neighbors. It’s gracious to advise your neighbors about your soiree and invite them ~ especially when building good relationships. Another option is stopping by post-party to confirm all went smoothly, and sharing party goodies.
  2. Children. If children are invited, consider a child’s activity room. Prepare a safe place in advance with games, toys, art supplies, a nap area and play activities. Hire a trusted babysitter or nanny.
  3. Serve favorite appetizers. Order or prepare favorite dishes and appetizers in advance. Consider guest allergies. Include vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free and sugar-free dishes with menu cards. Organize the buffet the night before.
  4. Moderation. Serve bottled water, juice, carbonated drinks, and sodas, in addition to alcohol. Sports fans understand arenas close down alcohol service before the final play period. After the third quarter announce “last call” and close the bar. Begin serving dessert, coffee and tea. Have an advance plan for guests who may overindulge including designated drivers, a shuttle service, and room for unexpected overnight guests.
  5. Greet guests. As a host, it‘s polite to warmly greet the first arriving guests at the door.
  6. Television Screens. Consider more than one TV screen. Borrow and place screens in the living area, great room, patio, kitchen, and game rooms. One TV may be set up for serious game watchers, and another reserved for socializers ‘chatting’ during the game. Both groups may be very interested in those multi-million dollar commercials.
  7. Game Day Decorations. Show your spirit by using official NFL party plates for both teams or ordering specialty desserts! Party favors may include a water bottles with ribbons tied in both team around the bottle neck.
  8. National Anthem. When the national anthem is played on TV, stand up, remove your hat, and place your hand over your heart. Guests will follow your lead. It’s respectful.
  9. Game Day Contests. Consider party contests for those moments of down time. Examples include guess the halftime or final score, best animal, funniest or most expensive commercial, best fan spirit, pin the tail on the quarterback, and yummiest appetizer. Have simple prizes on hand.

The Big Game day is a great time for family and friends to spend time together. Make it a memorable day to mind your manners and enjoy the game of the year!

Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a cross-cultural trainer, an international protocol expert and the founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management with the HOFSTEDE center, she serves as a Chinese Ceremonial and Banquet Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People and NTD Television Canada. She is the resident etiquette expert for popular morning lifestyle shows: ABC Tampa Bay’s Morning Blend and CBS Austin’s We Are Austin. She is regularly quoted by BBC Capital, Investor’s Business Daily, Fortune, National Business Journal, Reader’s Digest and Stylecaster. Her international award-winning, best-selling book Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, now in its second printing, was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015. Sharon is the winner of the British Airways International Trade, Investment & Expansion Award at the 2016 Greater Austin Business Awards.