Running Your Business

Tips for Hosting an NFL Office Tailgate Party This Season


  • Hosting an office tailgate party is a great way to boost morale and engage your colleagues in a friendly, sports-related event

  • In order to avoid potential issues, you should thoroughly plan ahead and set clear expectations for attendees

  • Once you've decided how to host the event, talk with your HR team to see what considerations need to be addressed during the planning stages

Posted by September 14, 2018

With football season upon us, there’s a good chance that your colleagues are excited to cheer their favorite teams on. Why not join in the fun and host an office tailgate party?

Throwing a company-wide party is a great way to boost morale and engage your fellow employees in a friendly sports-related event—so long as you plan ahead and set clear expectations. Here are some tips that can help you coordinate everything and ensure the party doesn’t veer out-of-bounds.

Choose a Date and Time

With football games typically occurring on Thursdays, Sundays and Mondays, choosing a structure for your office tailgate party is usually the first step. If your staff members work a traditional Monday through Friday 9-to-5 shift, there’s a good chance that any tailgating will take place during their personal time.

While some of your staff may enjoy coming into the office or meeting up during their off-hours, others may decide not to participate for that very reason. This leads you to two choices:

1. Schedule the Tailgating Party During Off-Hours

If you’d like to stay true to the game time, you may want to consider opening up your workspace (or planning to meet at a local restaurant) a few hours before the game begins. If you’re having the event at the office, you could invite staff to participate in a potluck dinner or get food delivered from a nearby restaurant. You could even stay true to the tailgating tradition and fire up a travel-sized grill outside, but keep in mind that this poses additional safety concerns.

2. Host a Pre-Game Event at the End of Your Workday

Another option is to host your tailgating party on the day closest to the game. Similar to a company happy hour, this type of event allows employees to join in on the fun without feeling like they’re missing personal commitments or spending too much time away from their loved ones.

Get HR Involved

Once you’ve decided when and how to host the event, talk with your organization’s human resources team to see what considerations need to be addressed during the planning stages. For example, HR may require that either no alcohol be allowed at the office tailgate party or employees limit themselves to one or two drinks. Safety may be another concern for HR, which might have suggestions about where food is allowed to be cooked and who is allowed to handle any appliances.

Finally, HR should help you draft an informal code of conduct for all employees to sign before attending the office tailgate party. While you’re hosting these events as a way to build team spirit and celebrate with your colleagues, setting clear expectations around behavior is key to planning a safe (but fun) event.

Make Friendly Wagers

As long as HR approves of light gambling in the workplace, you can have some fun by making wagers on the final score of the game. Now that sports betting isn’t quite illegal, you can place small bets on whichever teams you and your coworkers like best. However, wagers don’t have to be based on money to be fun.

For example, a bet that everyone would likely participate in could mandate that whoever votes for the losing team will be part of the cleanup crew. Another simple wager could task supporters of the losing team to prepare the food for the next office tailgate party. To create even more excitement, you may want to have some of your fellow employees brainstorm other types of friendly wagers, as this could influence a greater number of people to participate.

Set the Scene With Decorations

To build the buzz for the party, make an effort to decorate. If you buy football-themed decorations in bulk, you can hang them up at every event. If you work in an environment with cubicles, challenge team members to decorate their spaces in support of their favorite team. And depending on your workplace attire rules, it could be fun to encourage everyone to come to work dressed in their favorite sports apparel.

Tailgating is a time for food, fun and enjoying the company of peers who share one similar interest as you—football. This season, encourage your colleagues to bond over their love of the sport with an office tailgating party.

Looking for other ways you can expand your company’s offerings and enhance the employee experience? You can find a lot of interesting suggestions (and valuable tools) by visiting the United Concordia Dental website.

You may also like