If you’re an NBA or NHL fan, you know the big game is a big deal. The playoffs are an even bigger deal, and what better way to cap off the season and cheer for your NBA or NHL team than to throw a party? But what does it take for the party to become a smash-hit? Here are some tips to throwing a NBA or NHL playoff party people will remember for a long time.

If you don’t own a big-screen TV, hit up your friends for the biggest, best TV to use for the big game. As you know, the quality of the TV makes all the difference. Make sure it has high-def capabilities. If no one has one, go in on one with a bunch of friends and take turns keeping it at each other’s residence.

Throwing an NBA or NHL playoff party is all about the food. Provide foods that go with the theme – if it’s an NBA party, make or buy a football-shaped cake, with similar appetizers, related to the sport. If you’re in a city that hosts the NHL playoffs, research businesses that cater to these events, to bring the tailgating party to your home.

•Invite friends and colleagues who have a variety of team interests to make the environment interesting. Finding fans of opposite tastes creates an exciting scene with colorful conversations.

•Offer a small betting pool to bring out the competitive spirit of the game, with limits on bets, so you don’t go overboard.

•Pull out the board games, such as football or hockey bingo for entertainment value, which costs nothing. Research online for some fun bingo cards, and create your own rules. If you want to provide small prizes for winners, that’s up to you.

•Decorate based on the sport. For NHL playoffs, coordinate dishes, utensils, napkins, and decorations for the playoff team’s colors. Check out NBA-themed decorations at local party stores or online.

•Rotate games with other people, so you’re not stuck hosting for the entire playoff season. Different environments create new and exciting experiences, and give you a break to enjoy the games, as well.

•If you can’t host at your place of residence, call local restaurants, bars, clubs, or hotels, well in advance to reserve a place to host your playoff party.

A few weeks before the party, create colorful, fun invitations and send them to friends, family, and co-workers; this gives people plenty of time to mark it on their calendar, so you have a good turn-out. Also, involve people in the party decorations or planning, so you’re not overwhelmed. Decide, ahead of time, costs and resources you may need to enjoy a successful playoff party.

Throwing an NBA or NHL playoff party shouldn’t be too difficult if you prepare well ahead of the date, invoke others to help, and provide plenty of entertainment people will be raving about for years.