Building Hawaii's Parks, Sports Facilities & Playgrounds Since 1990

Seating Considerations For Indoor Sports Venues


Telescoping bleacher system installed by IP Hawaii, in the Kamehameha Kapalama Campus Kekuhaupio Gym in Honolulu, HI.

When it comes to sports venues a lot of attention is given to the playing fields and courts, the equipment, the athletes themselves; all important and necessary considerations.  Now imagine for a moment a sports competition without the screams of a crowded stadium;  no cheering, only the occasional squeaking of rubber soles on lacquered floors echoing throughout an empty gym. Why, you ask?  Without the anticipation of cheering fans bursting with emotion the thrill of the game is missing.  Your spectators must have a place to sit and their comfort is a legitimate consideration so, we must not overlook the importance of finding the best seating options for our athletic facilities.

There’s more to choosing the best seating arrangement for your venue than just throwing in some bleachers. In today’s seating market there is a wealth of options and it will be a great benefit to you and your organization if you focus your seating design considerations on efficiency over what’s cheapest.  Of course, budgets are a harsh reality but like everything in life, there is a balance.  Discussing your venue needs, restrictions, and available options with an experienced representative is the first step to finding the perfect balance for both the comfort of your pocketbook and the comfort of your fans. Here is a quick run-down of the most common options available for indoor seating and issues to consider when choosing the best seating for your athletic facilities.

8 Seating Considerations For Indoor Sports Venues:

  1. Final Use: Think about what uses your facility will have for seating and what type of events your space needs to accommodate.  Will there be sports competitions only or will the space also host school events like dances, performances, meetings, cafeteria dining, etc. Consider the comfort of your end users; benches are fine for short periods of time but if your audience will be seated for a long duration or are older in age you may be better off with backed and/or padded seating to extend their comfort level.
  2. End Users: Do you need to accommodate adults and children or just one or the other? Also consider who will be operating the system and what limitations they may have. You will have choices when it comes to ease of use.
  3. Mobile Systems or Floor Fixed Systems: This decision will hinge a lot on the amount of space your working with and the variety of events you’ll be hosting in your facility.  Mobile systems are small and can be folded up and completely removed from a room if needed and offer the flexibility to reconfigure as needed for different events.  Fixed systems are generally a good fit for larger facilities and can be fully automated. There is a large variety of options available for both styles and they can even be combined
  4. Space Restrictions: This will affect decisions like how many rows you need, your average capacity, and the rise of the benches (distance between rows.)  You’ll need to find the right balance between the average height of your end users (children vs adults) and the space you have to work with. Remember that the height and extended bleacher length are proportionate. The higher you go, the more floor space you’ll need for the seating to extend out onto the floor.
  5. Special Needs Accessibility: These requirements are proportionate to the amount of seating you plan to install.
  6. Safety Requirements: This usually comes down to railings. A unique feature of our preferred manufacturer, Interkal, is their patented self-storing aisle rails (SSAR.) Aisle Rails are permanently bolted in position and automatically store in the deck, ensuring that the rails are in place at all times for spectator safety.  This is also a benefit because it eliminates the need to individually set up each rail, maximizing labor savings.
  7. Electrical Wiring: If you’re going with a mobile or small manually operated system this won’t be a concern. However, for large systems you’ll need to look at one of two options. You can either choose a bleacher option that fits your existing facility wiring limitations or choose the system you want and have the facility rewired to fit the bleacher. You’ll need to do some research here with an electrician. Your budget may be the final determination in which option is best.
  8. Accessories: You’ll have several additional options you can customize to fit your facility needs.  Score tables, end panels, vinyl side curtains, back rails and panels, numbering, and motion sensors that beep to warn others when the system is moving to help avoid accidents.

Our sports facility experts will be happy to visit your organization to assess your facility needs answer questions, and discuss any upcoming projects you may have. Contact Us anytime for more information.