As the season starts winding down for high school sports teams, the year-end sports banquet is just around the corner. The sports banquet is a celebration of both the players’ and the team’s accomplishments. If you’re part of planning this special event, you might be wondering where to start. Don’t worry, we have some great ideas to help you plan the perfect event.
Reserve a Venue
You should start by looking for a venue to host your banquet as early as you can. You might even get a head start with planning as soon as the season starts. It’s especially important if you decide to host the event on a Friday or Saturday evening. Keep in mind that places tend to fill up pretty quickly during the spring, summer, and fall.
It also depends on what size of a room you’ll need. Larger ballrooms might require more lead-time, but you may not need as much notice for smaller event spaces. If you can be flexible, consider hosting the event during the week. An alternative mealtime, like brunch, is also a great idea.
Planning the Menu
Ask your venue for on-site catering options, which will cut out some of the work for you. Most venues offer on-site event coordinators who will work with you to customize your menu options. Since it’s a team event, be sure to select a diverse range of food. Having some variety will ensure there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
If you are having a celebration for the team, make sure you incorporate team colors into the event decorations including the napkins, tablecloths, centerpieces, and balloons. You could display jerseys, sports equipment, and any exciting action shots from the season throughout the venue. Want a fun way to highlight each player? Display an old photo of them playing the sport and the most recent sports photo.
Plan the Awards
A banquet celebrating the end of the season should include an awards ceremony that recognizes player and team achievements. You’ll need to figure out what awards you’ll be handing out to players. Make sure to give yourself enough time to order any personalized trophies, ribbons, plaques, or certificates.
The more common awards will honor team MVPs, captains, and all-stars. Then, you could hand out awards specific to the sport. Examples might range from best serve, most blocks, most hits, or most RBIs. Some other awards you could consider:
- Best offensive player
- Best defensive player
- Best play of the season
- Best attitude
- Best attendance
- Best student athlete
- Most improved player
Other than individual awards, you should think of ways to include every team member. One idea is to give each athlete a plaque with the team’s mascot and motto on it.
Speakers and Presentation
While there may be boosters and parents who want to speak, it's probably a good idea to limit the number of speeches. This will keep the banquet from dragging on and the focus on the players. You could keep it simple by having all of the coaches speak, then have the head coach pass out the awards.
Overall, keep the event lively. The best way to celebrate the team is to put together a highlight video that you can play during the banquet. This reel is a great way for the players to relive all of the exciting plays, hard-fought games, and team accomplishments from the season. Then, provide each player with a copy they can take home with them. It’s sure to flood your banquet with enthusiasm, pride, and team spirit!