Whether it be a new build or a renovation to an existing facility, when it comes to planning prospective seating, there is much to take into consideration. While to some, it might seem as easy as picking a number out of thin air in reality, that could not be further from the truth.
With the changing needs of many facilities, the question could be answered using a subtraction or an addition type of formula. With many stadiums, arenas and other locations opting for lower seat counts in hopes of a better spectator experience, the answer has progressed beyond the “go big or go home” mentality of not long ago.
As you prepare to plan seating for your new or existing location, here are a few key factors every planner should take into account before placing an order on new fixed seating.
This is an area that has changed dramatically over the last decade or two. Originally, seating was small, compact and tight to fit as many spectators into a fixed space as humanly possible. As the industry has changed to a more spectator-friendly environment, in addition to considering the increasing size of the average North American, the seats we install have also increased in size in response to these shifts in the market.
Typically speaking, seats were traditionally designed and installed with just a 19” width, leaving spectators crammed close together. Over the years, we have seen seat widths grow to as large as 25”, which inevitably shrinks attendance sizes.
Current and Projected Fan Base
Any good operator could tell you without missing a beat, what their capacity is and what their past and current attendance levels are. A really good operator also knows where he or she would like to be in terms of attendance over the coming five to ten years. Using this data to plan a new seating project is one of the most important aspects to consider and is one that could truly make or break future decision making.
Competitive research is important to any business or organization. Within the athletics market, this should come as no surprise as each player and team is constantly chasing perfection to gain an edge on the competition.
When planning any seating project, hit the road and assess what your closest competitors are doing in your market. Attempt to gain any insight into those closely related to your team or organization to make the decision-making process that much more fluid.