While watching sports on television gives you the chance to see games that you’d otherwise miss, let’s face it; it’s never the same as going to see a game in the flesh. You won’t get the roar of the crowds (or the current, piped in version), the feeling of collective victory, or the sense of spectacle that comes with catching a game live.

Of course, most sports fans can’t afford a season ticket, and sometimes the trip from Newcastle to Plymouth on a rainy Tuesday is just too burdensome to bear. What’s more, the current global pandemic has made the prospect of watching sports in a stadium less feasible than ever. Though tentative steps are being made at stadiums reopening to fans, for now it’s from the comfort of our sofas that we’ll be watching.

To help you make it (nearly) as enjoyable as attending a live event, check out these tips on 4 ways to make watching sport more fun at home.

MAKE AN EVENT OUT OF IT

Sports have been used for thousands of years to bring people together. From the days of Ancient Rome, when sports were one of the few activities that everyone was permitted to enjoy, to the modern day World Cup and Olympics which seem to bring the whole world together, it’s in these big, global events that true bridge building and merry making are found.

You can add similar fanfare to the sporting events that you watch on television domestically, even if it’s just with close friends or family. Laying on some snacks (more of that in a minute), inviting friends with rival allegiances over, and decorating your living room in the colours of the occasion…these are all simple ways to throw a little spectacle over what is essentially watching TV on your sofa.  

COOK THE COMPETITION’S FOOD 

Wondering what to eat in front of the big match? Sure, the usual Pringles in a bowl can be fun, but why not go all out on the food offering and take inspiration the teams you’re watching to create a fascinating feast for all the family?  

The last World Cup saw a triumphant trend of cooking dishes from the hosts’ culinary catalogue. In this case, it was Russia 2018, and plenty of Borscht, Salad Oliver and Pelmeni graced the tables of curious cooks across the country. 

This trend needn’t necessarily be globetrotting. Instead, why not serve up regional dishes of the teams participating in the big match. With the first game of the new Premier League season approaching, and Liverpool Vs. Leeds the pick of the first round of matches, here at IDEAL we’ll be serving up food from the two cities to celebrate. Scouse, the rich and hearty meat stew from Merseyside which folk from Liverpool their nickname is a certainty. To accompany, and conveniently from Leeds, it has to be perfect Yorkshire puddings. Delicious!

FANTASY LEAGUES

Fantasy leagues have been popular amongst sports fans for a very long time, giving you the chance to take on the role of team manager for your very own imaginary team. There are loads of apps out there that can make this easier, along with plenty of websites and other platforms that are designed to host this sort of fun; get your friends, family, and co-workers involved with this and you’ve got instant talking points for even the most tedious of matches. The official Fantasy Premier League is by far and away the most widely used platform now, with over 6 million users, and has even sparked controversy and debate in popular culture in recent years.

Buying a small prize for the winner of your Fantasy League can be a great way to make the whole thing more fun. Hosting a trophy giving ceremony could add even more incentive!

PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS

While the kids might not be able to get involved with this idea, low stakes, responsible betting can be a fun way to improve just about any game. You don’t have to use real money for this – Monopoly will do just fine – but a little punt can enliven even a rainy Monday night in Grimsby. 

Do endeavour to read up on the best teams for 2020 and the tipster’s top predictions before committing your coins, and give yourself the chance to make bets based on the information available, rather than simply making guesses. There are loads of apps available for this sort of activity, though you could also consider simply handling the bets among yourselves. Either way, this will add plenty of intrigue to the occasion.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Though we’re some way off packing into sports stadiums again, with all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to take on the challenge of making televised sport more fun. Good luck!