If you can’t head to the desert and watch the Las Vegas Raiders in person this season, then we have the second-best solution for you. As we reported earlier this year, the Raiders boast the most expensive tickets in the NFL heading into the 2022 season, and that doesn’t include the cost of staying in Las Vegas ... and possibly losing money in the casinos.
While the tailgating experience around Allegiant Stadium may have it’s own unique flair, so can your homegating experience.
What exactly is “homegating,” you may ask? It’s the tailgating experience but within the confines of your own home. And having a watch party in a spot you’re comfortable in is always a great call. The advantages of homegating are aplenty:
- Your own kitchen
- Your own backyard
- Your own seating
- Your own entertainment center
- You set the invite list
One of the most important advantages not on the list above: You don’t have to lug things to-and-fro like you would at a tailgate. And when we get into the fall and winter seasons, your ability to adjust and handle inclement weather is exponentially increased being at home than at a tailgate where you’re at the mercy of Mother Nature. While you may think that Las Vegas is always hot, the desert temperature can drop into the 20s and 30s in mid-winter.
Don’t be afraid to decorate in a Silver & Black theme, either, and express yourself just because it’s your own home. Just like how eclectic the costumes, get-ups, and décor can be at a Raiders tailgate, the same can be at your homegate. Plus you can decorate the entire house!
Here are some tips for a Silver and Black-themed NFL watch party to ensure you bring a game-day atmosphere to the comfort of your own home:
No matter how you’re making the food — on the stove, in the oven, with an air fryer or on an outdoor grill — doing an equipment check is always a great call. Make make sure all is in working order before game day. Not checking the propane tank before firing up the grill, for example, can draw your own false start flag from the get-go.
Marinating meat the day before is also a solid call. Especially if you want to ensure the marinade or rub thoroughly saturates what you’re cooking.
Finally, do a guest check. Hit up your invite list and see who is going to make it and who won’t, also ask if they have any food allergies or preferences. That way you can strategize the amount of food and drink, and seating you’ll need.
Where you’ll be watching the game in your home must be decided early. Whether that’s in the living room, another spot in your house or in the backyard, just like the cooking equipment check, make sure the entertainment system is good by doing a trial run.
Here’s my personal setup: There’s a wall-mounted 32-inch TV in the kitchen so I don’t miss any of the action while cooking or prepping food items and drinks. The living room has a 50-inch TV with the game on with our L-shaped large couch. And in the back yard is a projector and corresponding screen.
All are showing the game with the added independence of viewers able to swap between the Raiders game and another that’s being shown at the same time (if applicable).
Here’s an excellent pro tip on setups: Make sure you provide your WiFi password/log-in info for your home internet for your guests, as you know they’ll be checking their fantasy teams or DraftKings picks.
This is where your guest/invite list comes into major play. Do keep in mind of any dietary restrictions and be varied in your food and drink offerings. Being accommodating in this regard is an excellent call and ensures potential return visits for future homegating experiences.
Sure, there’s something to be said about BYOS (bring your own stuff) but being a host or hostess with the mostest means being agile and flexible with menu items.
In terms of homegating food, a nacho bar is always a solid call, as are appetizer items such as cheese boards, veggie trays/dips, and wings. Our go-to at my homegate is spinach dip and baguette bread.
Unlike the lines you’d see at Allegiant Stadium for concessions, time to get food will be totally in your control as the host.
Unlike a tailgate or in-person experience at the stadium, you know where everything is in your pad and won’t have to ask for directions.
As mentioned just above, lines can be a detriment to watching the game in-person. Homegating gives you the luxury of a restroom you know very well. Do ensure it’s stocked with toilet paper, soap/hand sanitizer and towels, though. Because the food and drink you’re serving will result in bathroom breaks.
To make the homegating similar to tailgating, invite guests who’ll cheer for the Raiders’ opponents. There will be witty banter along with the food, drinks and camaraderie ... even if the team you’re rooting for doesn’t get the W.
And finally, a homegating/watch party is a great way to introduce kids to the game of football. Yes, the matchup on TV is what everyone’s there for, but the experience of getting together for a game-day atmosphere is one that can be shared with people of all ages.