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bleacher seating

How to Make Sure Your Event has the Best Bleacher Seating Possible

Bleacher seat tickets are typically one of the least expensive types of seated tickets you can sell for your events. However, even the cheapest bleacher seat tickets need to provide a good experience for ticket buyers. In other words, when it comes to holding a successful event, making sure the bleacher seating meets ticket buyers’ expectations is essential.

There are several types of bleacher seating designs available at different venues. How do you know which one is right for your event? To help you make the right decisions, you need to understand the importance of bleacher seating design, mistakes to avoid when choosing a venue and bleacher seat designs, and how to make sure your venue has bleacher seats that create a great experience for event ticket buyers.

Whether you’re planning an upcoming event or already in the process of looking for the best venue and bleachers, following are tips and considerations to help you choose the right bleacher seating design.

Should You Offer Bleacher Seating Tickets for Your Event?

One of the most important things to consider when you’re planning an event is the seating. Choosing the wrong type of seating can lead to a long list of problems, including unhappy ticket buyers, negative word-of-mouth (think of all those social media posts!), and complaints from performers.

To ensure your event is successful, it’s crucial that you choose the best type of seating. Bleacher seating is a great option for budget-conscious ticket buyers but only if it provides a great view for attendees and can be configured to fit the needs of your event.

However, bleacher seats can cause some problems that you need to consider early in the event planning process. Here are three common issues that we see event managers encounter when they sell bleacher seat tickets:

1. Unhappy Ticket Buyers

Bleacher seats are uncomfortable. They don’t have seat backs. They’re not chairs, which means not only are they physically uncomfortable for most attendees, but also, there is no clear separation between ticket buyers. People like to have their personal space, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic.

2. Lower Revenue

Since bleacher seats are uncomfortable and may not be positioned for a perfect view of the stage or field, they need to be sold at a lower price point, and that translates to less revenue per ticket sold. You need to be careful that you can still generate a profit from these low-priced tickets.

3. Errors in Capacity Planning

Bleacher seating often leads to capacity planning errors. For example, how do you estimate how many people can sit in bleachers? People come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s nearly impossible to estimate exactly how many people can fit in bleacher seating.

Often, event managers end up over-selling bleacher seat tickets. As a result, people end up standing because there isn’t enough room for all bleacher seat ticket buyers to actually sit on the bleachers. You don’t want this to happen at your event because it creates even more problems related to ticket buyer unhappiness as well as space, crowding, and attendee traffic flow issues.

Bottom-line, you need to consider all of the pros and cons to offering bleacher seats before you sell tickets to your event.

Types of Bleacher Designs and Construction

Bleachers can be either elevated or non-elevated. Elevated bleachers start with the first row 30-40″ above the ground while non-elevated bleachers start on the ground. People sitting in the first row of an elevated bleacher will place their feet on a riser, but people sitting in the first row of a non-elevated bleacher will put their feet directly on the ground.

Bleacher Designs

There are two common types of bleacher designs to choose from: traditional and fan-shape.

Traditional Bleacher Seating

Traditional bleacher seating is the most common type. It’s linear, with all seats facing in one direction. This type is best for events where the audience will be seated for the entire show, game, or performance.

Fan-Shape Bleacher Seating

Fan-Shape bleacher seating is more popular than traditional seating because it offers a better view of the stage for more people. The seats are in a curved formation, so everyone has a good view of the stage or field. This type of bleacher design is best for events where there will be a lot of movement on the stage, such as concerts or theater productions.

Bleacher Construction

There are three main types of bleacher construction: angle frame, I-beam, and portable.

Angle Frame Bleachers

Angle frame bleachers are constructed on a frame using 45-degree angles and can be elevated or not elevated. This type of bleacher is best on flat ground or on a concrete slab. Angle frame bleachers are typically found at smaller outdoor sporting venues where ticket buyers are watching football, soccer, baseball, or other events on a field.

I-Beam Bleachers

I-beam bleachers are constructed on a frame using 90-degree angles. This type of bleacher is better on sloped grounds than angle frame bleachers. They’re also a good choice when you want the space under the bleachers to be open so you can set up food and merchandise stands in that area. I-beam bleachers are typically elevated grandstands. You’ll often find them at large outdoor and indoor event venues, like sports and concert venues.

Portable Bleachers

Portable bleachers can be moved. They may or may not have wheels attached. They can be fully or partially collapsed for transportation and storage between uses.

Bleacher Sight-line and Bleacher Dimension Considerations

For the best attendee experience, bleacher seat ticket buyers have to be able to see the performers on stage. Bleachers that are too low or too high can obstruct the view of the audience. The angle of the bleachers can also make a big difference. If they’re not steep enough, people will have a hard time seeing the stage.

Sight-line refers to the optimal view for each person who is watching performers, athletes, or speakers on a stage or field. Ideally, every seat allows each attendee to sit in a forward, straight position and see the entire stage without obstructions and without moving their head or body. In real world situations, there is rarely a way to ensure every event attendee has a perfect sight-line. However, the bleacher design should provide the best possible sight-line for each person.

Bleacher designers use a specific algebraic equation to optimize sight-lines. The sight-line value (referred to as the C-Value) is equal to the riser height plus the vertical height to the point of focus multiplied by the horizontal distance from the eye to the stage or field. The resulting number is then divided by the sum of the horizontal distance from the eye to the stage or field plus the seating row depth. Finally, take the result and subtract the vertical height to the point of focus. The final result is the sightline value that provides the best view for all bleacher ticket buyers.

how to make sure a venue has great bleacher seats
This image is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license. Source: Wikipedia.

If you’re adding bleachers to a venue to create more seating, consider the dimensions of the venue. If the bleachers are too wide, they’ll take up too much space and leave less room for people to move around. If they’re too narrow, people will be cramped and uncomfortable.

Bottom-line, make sure you choose a bleacher design that will create the best experience for your event ticket buyers!

How to Make Sure a Venue Has Great Bleacher Seats

Bleacher seating can provide a great experience for event ticket buyers, and it’s important for the performers too. However, if bleacher seats provide a terrible view, attendees won’t be happy.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a venue:

  • Space: If you’re adding bleachers to a venue, make sure there is enough space for them
  • View: The bleachers must provide a clear, unobstructed view of the stage or field for every ticket buyer. If you can’t test this by filling the bleachers with people before the event, then take measurements of the bleachers at the venue and use the C-Value calculation discussed above to confirm the bleachers were built to optimize sight-line.
  • Construction: The bleachers should be constructed of sturdy materials and be in good condition.
  • Safety: The bleachers should include adequate safety features, such as handrails for the stairs, nonslip step coverings, and railings along the sides and back.
  • Comfort: The seats should be as comfortable as possible with adequate leg room, enough space to move, and so on.

If the venue you’re considering doesn’t have bleachers that meet the criteria listed above, don’t hold your event at that location. There are plenty of other great venues that will meet your needs and have great bleacher seats for your ticket buyers.

Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Venue with Bleachers

When you’re looking for a venue that has bleacher seating (or where you’ll add bleachers), be sure to avoid these five common mistakes:

  1. Not Checking the Sight Lines: Make sure you inspect the venue to see if the bleacher seating offers a good view of the stage. If not, ticket buyers will be disappointed.
  2. Not Considering the Size of the Stage or Field: If the stage is too small, it will be difficult for people in the back row of the bleachers to see what’s going on.
  3. Ignoring the Height of the Bleachers: If the bleachers are too high or too low, they can be uncomfortable or even dangerous for attendees.
  4. Not Budgeting for Bleacher Seating: Bleacher seating can be expensive if you need to add it to a venue. You’ll need to make sure your ticket pricing is set accordingly to ensure you bring in adequate revenue from ticket sales to cover the added costs.
  5. Not Auditing Bleacher Safety: You must physically examine any venue’s bleachers to ensure they are well-constructed and maintained and include all necessary safety features.

Key Takeaways about Bleacher Seating Design for Events

When it comes to choosing the right bleacher seating design for your event, it’s important to make sure you avoid common mistakes and choose a venue or portable bleachers that will give as many ticket buyers as possible the best experience during your event.

Finally, take some time to consider whether or not offering bleacher seating at your event will drive the revenue and positive experiences that you want every ticket buyer to have. The AttendStar team is here if you need help! Contact us at (615) 223-1973 to ensure you maximize ticket sales and the attendee experience for your event.

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