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What is Stadium Seating?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 23, 2024
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Considered to be essential in most sports, performing arts, and movie venues, stadium seating is designed to provide a better view of the central point of focus from all seats than in other seating options. The arrangement of stadium seating involves using a floor plan that is designed with an upward slope that provides a slight elevation for each row of seating as the number of rows expand away from the center area. The slight degree of elevation makes it possible for persons who are sitting near the rear of the facility to still see the central area clearly, without the view being encumbered by the heads of other attendees.

There are several different designs of stadium seating in common usage. Generally, all forms of stadium seating provide for aisles that separate sections of the seating. The aisles allow easy access to the seats on all rows, making it much easier for people to find seats and settle in for the event. The floor itself may be constructed in tiers, with tiered seats marked out on each tier. In other situations, the tiers may house chairs that are fixed in place. Modern baseball stadiums tend to be constructed with tiered seating that includes chairs with backs and arms, while many football stadiums make use of simple tiered bleacher style seats that are marked out on the tier itself. This form of stadium seats is sometimes referred to as stepped seating, as it is possible to step up and down on the seats, as well as in the aisles.

Aisles in stadium seating may be constructed with steps, while others are simply sections of flooring that follow a gentle upward slope. The upward slope methods is more common with the stadium seating in movie theaters, concert halls, and live theaters, while the stepped method predominates at sports arenas. In both cases, most venues today provide sections that are set aside specifically for patrons who use a wheelchair, or are otherwise unable to move easily up and down flights of steps.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseTour, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments

By Logicfest — On Jun 29, 2014

@Markerrag -- it is pretty easy to figure out why theaters didn't used to have true stadium seating. It simply didn't require as much space to build a theater so the screen was up high and seats were built on a gentle incline. The view was good for most people and the theaters were cheaper to build that way, so why not?

Compare that to how much more it costs to position the screen down low and have seats build on a severe incline. Visibility improves, but costs go up quite a bit and space is not utilized quite as efficiently.

So, there you go.

By Markerrag — On Jun 28, 2014

True stadium seating is, oddly, a relatively new innovation to movie theaters. There was a time when theaters were built so that the seats were aligned in a gentle slop -- lower at the front row and only slightly higher at the back.

The result? Having your view blocked by someone wearing a big, weird hat or something was common. One has to wonder why it took so long for someone to get the idea that stadium seating offered a much better view of the screen and cut down on blocked views.

Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum


Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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