Your Comprehensive Guide to Planning the Perfect Super Bowl Party
published onJanuary 15, 2014

The pressure’s on. With the Super Bowl hosted in New York, by now everyone who’s decided to brave the crowds and traffic and shell out thousands of dollars to enjoy the game at the Meadowlands already has their plans set.

The rest of us have some choices to make. Local sports bar? Friend’s house? Or host the Super Bowl party of the year that will make everyone paying $51 for a bus ticket to the game turn green with envy?

JD Pro has the tips to turn your house into the place to be this February 2 with the eight key elements to planning the perfect Super Bowl party.

The Seating
A home theatre design should start, logically, with the home theatre components, right? Like the TV? Not necessarily. It’s easy to find a screen you like, because, let’s face it, visually, HDTVs and Ultra HD screens are mostly the same shape (rectangular), in a range of sizes. Sure, you can drop six figures on a curved OLED screen from LG or Samsung, but, even if they could afford it, most people wouldn’t.

So, the single highest priced item in your home theatre system will actually be your seating. It’s also the item with the most choices available. You can buy sofas, individual theatre-style chairs, a mix of sofas and recliners. It’s all a matter of picking the seating you like best, which meets your family’s needs. You’ll select your screen and other components to provide a crystal clear view from any seat in the room. That’s why the perfect Super Bowl party starts with the seating.

The Screen
LED, OLED, plasma, projection systems. There are lots of choices in screens for your home theatre. For the best viewing in nearly any light conditions and from most angles, at the best price point, we used to recommend plasma screens. And still would, today. The plasma screens of the past few years offer wider viewing angles, better sports viewing, deeper blacks and better color contrast (although recent models of LEDs from manufacturers like Sony, Samsung and LG offer the same high quality color reproduction).

Even so, Panasonic, one of the last plasma manufacturers, is stopping production on plasma screens in 2014. In spite of the quality, plasma is dead.

At least for now, LCD technology with an LED backlight (that is, LED screens) offer the best balance between picture quality and price. The next question becomes screen placement and screen size. Designers use a variety of formulas to determine the right screen size for a room. You and your guests should be able to see the picture clearly from every seat, which also relates to the room’s layout.

Screens should be mounted at eye level, so that, when you’re sitting, you can view the center of the screen without craning your neck. However, many people prefer to have screens mounted higher for aesthetic purposes. Remember, the higher the screen is mounted, the larger screen you’ll want for the same viewing experience. A professional video designer can help you make the best choices for you and your family.

The Sound
As with the screen, the sound system you choose will depend on your everyday needs. You want a system that will rock for your Super Bowl party, but also fit your lifestyle on a day-to-day basis. If you want a true movie theatre experience at home, don’t go with anything less than 7.1 surround sound from a high quality system. JD Pro can help you choose the best sound system within your budget.

The Controller
Crestron touch panel? iPad or Samsung Galaxy control? Universal remote? Controllers are no longer an afterthought to your home theatre. They set the stage for the whole experience, providing convenience and interactivity on levels you never dreamed possible. We’ll talk more about choosing the right remote in a future post, because it deserves more than the few sentences we can give it here.

Your remote choice will depend on your budget, your needs and, to a certain extent, your choice of screen. With these factors in mind, your professional home theatre consultant can help you choose the control option that’s best for your family.

More Screens
A Super Bowl party, ideally, should provide guests with multiple locations to watch the game. First, think about all the money you’re saving by not going to the stadium. And then talk to your home theatre design consultant to set you up with a screen and DirecTV connection in your kitchen, dining room, den, basement, or anywhere else you want guests to gather.

If you already have an HDTV in a guest bedroom or spare room, set up the bed as a daybed by pushing it up against the wall and adding back and side pillows, and putting a few additional chairs in there so guests have another place to watch the game. You can also move the HDTV from your own bedroom into a guest room. When you’re tight on space, as many New York homes are, you can re-arrange furniture so the TV and the game is the focal point.

The Decorations
Do you really need decorations? The answer is “No.” Take a cue from New York sports bar and restaurant owners and spend your time and money on the best audio visual experience, beer choices and party foods. No one will care about streamers, balloons or cardboard cut-outs of footballs.

A football shaped sign in front of your house advertising, “The Party’s Here” can help guests find their way. And if you really want to “Wow” guests, decorate with your food. (Read on to see how.)

The Food (and Drinks)
Chips. Wings. Taco dip. These are pretty much no-brainers when it comes to the Super Bowl party menu. But how about a deli platter designed to look like the Meadowlands? (Get a few laughs by setting up little tailgating people being arrested just outside your meat-cheese-and-veggie stadium.) Take a look at these Super Bowl deli platter masterpieces and then get creative.

When it comes to beer, the old favorites make it easy. Beer Guide Bryce Eddings gives you a list here. He reminds us not to forget local micro-brews. Hit up a local brewery and get a couple of growlers your guests will love.

The Guest List
You’ve revamped and upgraded your home theatre system, planned the perfect menu and selected beer for every palate. Now it’s time to decide who to invite. Come-on-come-all? Or an intimate gathering with your best buds and their wives? It’s your choice.

Party planning experts come up with all sorts of complex formulas for calculating how many guests can fit in a certain size home. These figures would even have smart guys like Crestron programmers scratching their heads. Let common sense dictate how many people to invite. A good rule of thumb is that you should have seating available for mostof your guests, especially for an event like the Super Bowl. Also remember that one-quarter to one-half of the people invited won’t come, especially if you haven’t sent out your invitations yet, and depending on your reputation for throwing a party to remember.

Throw the formulas out the window, invite the people you want to spend this momentous occasion with, and hope the weather doesn’t require NFL officials to postpone the game.