Oct 24, 2012
Score Some Points
Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, Special to Party & Paper

Get everyone into the game

Football season is in full gear, which means wives and girlfriends nationwide are being ditched for sweaty men in jerseys twice a week. Traditionally, Sunday or Monday Night Football offered a great excuse for men to have “guy time” and ladies to take the back seat. Yet in households across the country, ladies are leading the way in how football is celebrated.

Party and paper retailers need to support their female customers, offering them ideas on how football can be a bit more glam while still being sporty. It’s up to retailers to help educate their customers on how they can use party products, offering them ideas that they may not come up with on their own. Through the power of display, great sales support and in-store marketing workshops, customers can be inspired to host their own football party… girl style.

The Playbook

Kelly Karrmann, communications manager at Creative Converting, believes that the details make the party, and football parties are no exception.

“For women, when party planning, it all comes down to the details – those small, yet noticeable touches that make a party extra special,” Karrmann said. “When entertaining for football games, whether hosting at home or tailgating, that could mean adding fun, team-themed decor to the celebration like coordinating paper tableware and party accessories, appetizer and cupcake picks, party straws, wearables and even party favors.”

Most men shudder at the thought of decorations in general – not to mention specific decor for football. But a woman? This is a different audience to cater to, which means the need to offer different choices. As a retailer, this is your biggest challenge to tackle. It’s up to you to identify what you have that will stand out in football decor options.

For most men, a great TV, some snacks and a refrigerator filled with their favorite drink is all they need to be happy watching the game – minus being at the actual game, of course. For women, however, it’s a whole other story. Your role to help support female customers is to introduce them to the vast variety of options available to make football parties stand out as their favorite to host.

A great place to lead customers as they navigate the aisles of your store is to your entertaining products. Introduce them to serving dishes, utensils, glasses, barware and other necessities to support a football feast that they may not have envisioned otherwise. Since every second counts in football, guests and hosts alike can’t miss a second of the game, which is why party and paper options make the perfect accessories for the event.

An example of this is Creative Converting’s large, football-themed sturdy paper oval trays. Combined with a host’s own favorite decor and themed or team colored items, customers can tackle a winning assortment of decor. By reminding your customers the “every second counts” rule in football, they will be quicker to buy stress free products that help make game time fun – and clean-ups quick.

Executing the Play

Whether you cater to Packers fans or Bears fans, it’s helpful to give customers a sample of how to create the perfect home or tailgating football party. This can be easily accomplished by using a combination of everyday entertaining pieces and incorporating team colors into their mix. Plain napkins that compliment a team’s colors are a great way to appeal to women versus bombarding them with all things logo-heavy.

The accents of an orange napkin (Go Bears!) against a host’s everyday white dishes offer a more feminine approach to traditional, logo heavy napkins. And while we don’t want to eliminate NFL or collegiate logo products entirely, finding balance among how these items are incorporated is key. A sample assortment of logo products, everyday party goods and a host’s own products are identified below.

Plates Combination of host’s own and paper options in plain, team colors

Napkins Paper only in team colors with logo napkins selectively used for specific purpose, such as dessert

Utensils Plastic in clear or in team colors as well as logo or team colored toothpicks

Cups Combination of host’s own and plastic, offering a more sophisticated, girly touch

Tablecloths Combination of host’s own and plastic options in team colors

Centerpieces Combination of logo party decor and traditional options, such as flowers in a vase

These essentials are enough to cry “party!” for nearly any occasion, but for the rowdiness of football lovers, using confetti, window decals, wall decor, balloons and other novelty items really elevates the party to another level. There is no shortage of “extras” for you to introduce – the only question is how “girly” is the girl you are selling to? It may mean identifying your best plastic beverage options versus colored paper cups.

Once the food menu and party must-haves are established, creating a drink list is top priority for any good host’s to-do-lists. Plastic glass options should be must haves on all your customers’ lists, but don’t just settle on traditional glass styles. From plastic wine, martini, shot and other novelty cups, customers can be inspired simply by having virtually limitless options. Introduce wine charms and glass labels and your add-on sales will starting adding up.


Just as there are different strategies in football, there are different approaches to entertaining. Some prefer a quick and easy set up and clean up, while others are more dedicated to layering their party with all the extras they can find. For both of these customers, bundling supplies offers practicality and convenience for shoppers.

“Bundling supplies in party packs is a great way to make it easy and quick for customers to shop for their party supplies,” Karrmann said. “Package paper tableware, napkins, cups and party decor in different size packs so that customers can conveniently just grab-and-go for their event. It makes it very simple, especially for those that don’t host regularly and may not know where to begin.”

For those that want to hand select their own decor options, bundles still add appeal by reminding customers of all they need to buy – even if they hand select their own products.

Celebrating the sport of football is just as much a girl’s game as it is a man’s these days. Support your customers by letting them know how a few party and paper supplies can help them create a dynamic, girl-inspired football party. And although it may go unstated, the men appreciate the enthusiasm. It’s a win-win all around.

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