New Study Reveals Top Reasons ‘Fans’ Attend Big Game Gatherings

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. (Jan. 27, 2020) – From generations to gender, Americans say food is officially more important than football when it comes to reasons to attend a Big Game party, according to new research.

A recent survey commissioned by Farm Rich, looked at different types of Big Game gatherings and the psychology of those who attend, and the findings were surprising: the game actually came in #3 behind “food” and “being social” when it comes to the top reasons for getting together to watch the biggest sporting event of the year.

Food for Thought:

Conducted by OnePoll, the study of 2,000 Americans, ages 18-55+, found:

  • The top reasons people attend a Big Game party are for the food (56 percent), then being social (54 percent) before the game itself (49 percent), followed by family time (45 percent) and commercials (38 percent).
  • Forty percent of respondents noted that they have been so wrapped up in the food and social side of things they have missed a lot of the game.
  • With food being the primary reason people attend parties, it’s no surprise that when it comes to party essentials, food takes top billing (44 percent), followed by alcohol (35 percent) and then non-alcoholic beverages (32 percent).
  • But all that drinking may come with a price and corporate America might want to take note: 32% of respondents revealed they have called in sick to work the day after the game. And those leading the charge are 39-54-year-olds, with 46% having called in sick compared to only 16% of those 55+.

Since food is top priority, it’s no surprise that most new year’s diet resolutions are tossed aside when it comes to the game day spread.

  • Of those surveyed, 74 percent admitted to eating more than at any other sporting event or similar viewing party.
  • 42 percent of guests own up to eating too much food at a Big Game shindig.
  • Party-goers indulge in an average of six different snacks, leading to a consumption of an average 719 estimated calories, according to the study.
  • Interestingly, it’s the older generations who are consuming more on game day.
    • Baby Boomers expect to consume an average of 1,710 calories, almost an entire day’s worth of calories for many.
    • This is compared to just 388 calories that Gen Zers expect to indulge in while watching the Big Game.

The top five game day foods that fans say can’t be missed are: chicken wings (50%), pizza (45%), chicken bites (38%) mozzarella sticks (33%) and chips (32%).

While almost half of those surveyed (42%) plan to attend a party for the Big Game this year, age and residence can increase the chances.

  • In the Southwest, 46 percent plan to attend a super soiree while only 35 percent of those in the Midwest plan to do so.
  • The older you are the more likely you are to join the football fun with 58 percent of Gen Xers planning to RSVP yes for parties versus only 30 percent of Gen Zers.

What’s Your Party Style?

While everyone is watching the same game, the styles of party definitely differ.

  • The top five most popular get-togethers are (1) The Potluck, (2) Family Friendly with lots of kids, (3) Die-Hard Football Fans where 100% of guests are devoted to the game, (4) Guys Gathering and (5) Seriously Social.
  • Regardless of the style, results revealed that the average Big Game gathering has 14 guests.

“Party styles will vary, but one constant is always the food, which has a way of bringing people together – sometimes even more so than the game itself,” says Ciera Womack, Senior Marketing Manager, Farm Rich. “Guests are looking for a fun social time, as well as a great food spread, in addition to exciting football and the latest commercials.”

Planning & Prep

With the focus being on food and social over the game itself, most hosts are planning for parties well before knowing what teams will even be on the field.

  • Planning begins before the start of the new year for 63 percent
  • Most likely to procrastinate goes to Gen Z with last-minute planning.
  • The biggest shopping day is the Saturday before the game.
  • The average host spends about seven hours just planning for the event (men 7.4 hours vs. women 6 hours), and about an hour in the kitchen prepping and cooking food before the party starts.

This can lead to super spending as well, with hosts shelling out on average $114.75 in party costs, while attendees on average contribute $94.88. Given the preference in the “Potluck”-style event, hosts are leaning more on guests to contribute. In the case of both attending and hosting, on average men reported spending at least 30% more than women: $110.81 vs. $74.74 when a guest, and $133.83 vs. $91.83 when playing host.

And finally, when it comes to showing off Big Game activities, it’s men who enjoy the experience of sharing on social media the most. Fifteen percent more men than women report attending Big Game parties just for the social share.

“These results show us that it’s really a team effort when it comes to pulling off a great party, and men more than ever are taking an interest…out-spending, out-sharing and out-planning women for the Big Game,” Womack adds.

Other Survey Findings:

1. Chicken wings 50%
2. Pizza 45%
3. Chicken bites 38%
4. Mozzarella sticks 33%
5. Chips 32%
6. Veggies & dip 28%
7. Loaded potato skins 28%
8. Cookies 26%
9. Fruit 26%
10. Hot dogs 26%

1. Spending it with friends and family 48%
2. Attending a party/tailgate 48%
3. Watching the commercials during the game 47%
4. Playing flag football 46%
5. Watching the halftime show 43%

The Farm Rich-sponsored survey was conducted in December 2019 by OnePoll, with a sample of 2,000 Americans between the ages of 18-55+. For the survey video, click here.

About Farm Rich

A division of Rich Products, Farm Rich is one of the nation’s leading frozen snacks and appetizers brands. The company is based in St. Simons Island, Ga., and features a full portfolio of frozen snack and appetizer products, made for snacking when you want, how you want. Farm Rich Snacks are made with wholesome, great-tasting ingredients and are sold at grocery and club stores nationwide, and online. For products, nutritional information, recipes and more, visit FarmRich.com.

Editor’s Note: For a copy of the survey or more information, please contact Claudia D’Avanzo, davanzo@creativecomminc.com, 404.374.5893, or Arielle Lyons, arielle@creativecomminc.com or 404.435.5983.