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Even if you get pretty serious about fantasy football and your strategy is well-researched and skillful, at the end of the day, participating in fantasy sports is still about having fun and socializing.
Having a live draft party can be one of the best parts of playing fantasy football.
You can go big and extravagant, and some people will even host group trips to Vegas. You can also have a smaller party at your house, but still, make sure it’s fun for everyone.
The following are some tips when it comes to planning the perfect fantasy draft party.
Deciding Where to Host the Party
You have a lot of options available to you as far as where to host your draft.
At your home is one option. When you host at home, you have control over scheduling everything. For example, you can schedule arrival times, when food will be served, and when everything should wrap up.
If most people live close by, this is an easy option. If not, and maybe you have some people from out-of-town, you could set it up so they can stay with you.
This is a good budget-friendly choice that might work best for your group.
Another option is to travel for your draft party. You might do this simply because it’s fun or because you’re going to tie it in with another celebration, like a birthday or bachelor party. You might also travel if participants all live far from one another, so you want to create a central meeting point.
Remember, if you go out of town, you’re going to need a place where the entire group can sit for several hours.
You might rent a house or condo with this in mind. If you stay in a hotel, you could split the cost of a suite. Las Vegas will often offer specials on suites for precisely this purpose.
Everyone needs to be able to see the draft board to avoid any potential disagreements.
While you want the party to be fun, you also have to remember your goal is the draft. Getting the space and place right is critical.
When Should You Hold Your Draft?
There are a lot of factors you have to consider when it comes to when to hold your draft.
There are those basic considerations—when are people available, possible locations available to use, and will the rules be ready to go by whatever date you pick?
You don’t want anyone to have a problem with a scoring method or rule at the draft, so everyone should have plenty of time beforehand to bring up any issues they might have.
Even if your league has been in existence for years, you still need to refresh everyone and give them time to voice any concerns or ideas for improvement they might have.
From there, you can start to get closer to a specific date.
If you go really early in the summer, sometime in July, there are benefits but potential downsides. If you plan the event too early, you’re adding more of an element of luck to things than there already is.
There are a lot of roster reversals, injuries, and cuts that can happen during training camp and the preseason games.
Then, on the other end of the spectrum are those last-minute drafts right before the first game, or even the day of.
Some people think that’s fun, but that’s a personal preference. You do have every bit of information when you wait later, but you don’t have the time to make trades before the first game.
A lot of leagues find the last few weeks of August are the right point for them.
At that point, training camp is over, so you know who’s healthy. You still have to see past the preseason noise, but that’s part of the challenge of fantasy football.
If you do a late august draft, you have time to plan and get everyone on the same page.
Space and Materials
We’ve already talked a bit about the importance of your so-called war room for your draft, but it’s so important that you have a good space that it deserves its own section in this guide.
Things tend to get a little heated at drafts, or maybe a lot heated. You don’t want to be sitting near a family in a restaurant if people in your group aren’t using their nicest language, for example, so the crowd that could potentially be around you is something to think about, and one reason to stay home. You can also pick an adult-friendly environment.
The room needs to be big enough for your entire league, preferably with seating not on the floor.
You need good Wi-Fi, and the fewer distractions in the room, the better.
You’ll need to get some materials together too. You need a physical draft board. If you can shop around and find a draft kit, this will make things easiest for you.
Draft kits will come with things like color-coded stickers.
Your Role As the Commissioner
On the day of, what’s your role as commissioner? When the draft day comes, most of the work should be taken care of. You can send out a quick reminder about the time and any other relevant details in the morning.
Your job isn’t to print out cheat sheets, but what you can do is give a little pep talk to get everyone started. You can make the room aware of any changes for the upcoming season and maybe have a bit of a ceremony if it feels like fun for your group.
Whether you go all out with a Vegas draft or do it at home, the biggest thing to remember is that communication among the group is paramount. If you have good communication early on, then most everything else (almost) takes care of itself. The more you give people time to plan for the event, the better and the fewer chances you have of a scheduling mishap.