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How to Throw a March Madness Party

March Madness PartyIt’s that time of year again when the brackets are out and millions of people will be filling them out in hopes of winning their local office pool. Many people will take the first Thursday and Friday of the NCAA tournament off work to watch games at home or even their favorite sports bar. I have long argued those two days should be holidays.

Employees spending time at work streaming games can have an economic impact on the workplace. The outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas conducted a study in 2014 and came up with the following results:

“With an estimated 50 million Americans participating in March Madness office pools, companies stand to lose at least $1.2 billion for every unproductive work hour during the first week of the tournament.”

“A 2009 Microsoft survey estimated that 50 million Americans will participate in March Madness office pools.”

A lot of people will have friends over to watch the games. It’s not that difficult or expensive to throw an exciting March Madness party. I’ve lost count of how many years I’ve hosted my own party. Every year, we seem to up the ante and do something unique.

Below are some ideas to help you throw a party your friends won’t forget.

The first thing is your setup. Most households own at least 2 TVs and multiple electronic devices. CBS, TBS, TNT, and truTV will be showing the games of the NCAA tourney. At some points, you can have 4 games airing at once. My basic setup consist of 2 TVs displaying games from Dish or DirecTV and 2 laptops streaming the other two games using the NCAA March Madness site or app.

Over the years, we have changed the lineup. I use my iPad to display the bracket. One year, I had an iPod in the guest bathroom streaming games so that even when nature calls, you wouldn’t miss the game. As you can see, with the basic electronic items that many people own, you can set your house up to rival your favorite sports bar such as a Buffalo Wild Wings.

The second item on the agenda is food. Pizza, wings, and buffalo chicken dip seem to be the go-to for my party every year. Pick the food, snacks, and beverages you would like to have at your event. The past couple years, I had a friend decorate a Duke themed March Madness cake for my party. Get as creative as you want in putting together your menu.

Duke Cake

The third item on the agenda is the extras. This includes things such as decorations, activities or even souvenirs. The past few years, I bought a 2′ by 3′ life-size bracket ($15 off Ebay) to hang above the TV. We updated the bracket after each game. I also set up my Duke corn hole boards outside. We run a March Madness bracket challenge and the winner takes all the money and a cool MM trophy you can get customized off Ebay. Last year, I had custom-made koozies for my March Madness party.

March Madness Bracket

All it takes is a little creativity and you can throw an exciting March Madness party! For the next 3 weeks, March Madness will be talked about everywhere.

Whether it’s co-workers discussing the games over a lunch break, friends getting together at the local sports bar to cheer on their team, or living rooms being turned into temporary sports bars to display all the games, March Madness is truly a unique sporting event that all can enjoy.

Do you throw a March Madness party? If so, share some of your ideas below.

You can follow Freddie on Twitter at @skeelow22.