Seating is one of the most important elements of any sporting venue, whether it be an Olympic stadium, the local leisure centre or even a school sports hall. The crowd is a truly integral part of an event at any venue. Regardless of size or capacity, spectators are capable of impacting the sporting event itself - a well-known phenomenon at football matches known as the '12th man'. The spectator experience is also considered to be a social experience, where people meet, mingle and share a common interest.
The majority of UK sporting venues were built during the latter decades of the 20th century. During this period, seating arrangements were not given as much consideration and standard seats allowed little space for the spectator to sit comfortably. They were often narrow and hard with minimal armrests, or simply hard wooden benches - far from being comfortable places to sit for extended periods of time.
The spectator of today wants comfort and ease of access. Over the course of the last couple of decades however, attitudes towards spectator seating have changed considerably. We are seeing a number of venues investing heavily into the comfort and well-being of their spectators to enhance their overall experience, increase customer loyalty and increase repeat business - although this comfort refers to a range of different facilities, seating and sightlines are perhaps the most important of all.
Different Types of Spectator Seating
For many, the term spectator instantly conjures up images of massive crowds at impressively large stadiums, and indeed this justifiably counts as a large proportion of spectator seating. However, aside from larger sports stadiums, there are numerous types of venues which host sporting events. Such locations include aquatic centres, leisure centres, ice rinks, cricket pitches, athletics tracks, multi-purpose arenas, gymnasiums and velodromes.
In order to determine the most appropriate seating arrangement for any given venue, it is important to understand exactly who the audience is in order to better comprehend the spectator's needs and in turn, attract more visitors - key considerations for all venues however, include sightlines, safety and comfort.
What Makes Seating Important?
A good spectator seating arrangement can help to generate additional revenue, making the venue more appealing as a whole and subsequently gaining higher participation rates overall. Not only this, attractive sporting venues can help unite communities and encourage civic pride in local regions -this can be of great benefit to towns and cities, especially so in economically deprived areas. A modern venue designed with spectator comfort in mind achieves a much greater degree of customer appeal and satisfaction, providing flexibility of use whilst being aesthetically pleasing, durable, hardwearing and space saving.
Ferco Seating Products
The FCB-M is the centre piece of Ferco Seating's narrow stadium seating range. It has proven a highly popular choice for swimming pool and leisure centre spectator seating, offering a slim tip-up mechanism which provides maximum seat-way, even in extremely narrow row depths. The seat provides an in integrated maintenance free rotating mechanism with interior counterweight to ensure a perfectly engineered fold back.
The FCB-M is appropriate for a range of installation arrangements which include floor-mounted, beam-mounted, retractable seating or riser mounted structures.
Constructed from blow moulded double walled high impact polymer, the FCB-M is exceptionally hard wearing.
It offers the following features:
- Ergonomic design
- Ease of maintenance and installation
- RAL matched colours
- No sharp edges or gaps
- Robust and durable
- Slim folding mechanism
- Herzog and de Meuron design
The Arc Lite can either be floor or riser mounted. The double walled seat and back rest delivers outstanding comfort and durability compared to that of other market leading tip up seats. The ARC Lite also offers outstanding strength, constructed from blow-moulded polypropylene with inherent FR and UV resistance additives.
Installed in numerous stadiums across the globe, the ARC Lite can be either floor or riser-mounted and the seat can be customised with standard ARC armrests or cup holders. There is also a 'plus' version, which offers a higher backrest for improved support, with optional seat/row numbering and armrests. This seat provides ergonomic design for maximum comfort, contemporary materials and colours and is low maintenance. It can be fitted to suit flexible layouts and the seat itself offers double stitching, a silent tip-up mechanism as well as a slim profile for a maximum seat way - perfectly suited to tight spaces.
With its ergonomically shaped thickly upholstered seat and back, the ARC One stadium seat sets new standards in spectator comfort.
Constructed with a plastic inner and a plastic outer, incorporating a silent gravity tip-up mechanism, it is extremely robust and low maintenance.
Specifically engineered for longevity and ease of maintenance and available as a higher backed 'plus' model.
The ARC One has optional cup holders, seat and row numbering.
It offers the following features:
- Ergonomic design for maximum comfort
- Contemporary materials and colours
- Virtually maintenance free
- Variety of finishing options including desking
- Flexible layouts including radial
- Double stitching
- No finger traps
- Strong silent tip-up mechanism
The London Aquatic Centre
Designed by renowned architect firm Zaha Hadid, the London Aquatic Centre is an indoor swimming facility which was used at the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. Ferco provided the spectator seating - the versatile FCB-M seat was chosen for the project due to its aesthetics, comfort and durability. This seating is highly flexible and is much revered for its contemporary design which can be colour customised for any type of venue.
Sapphire Ice and Leisure Centre
Romford's premier ice and leisure facility, The Sapphire Ice and Leisure centre was named in commemoration of Queen Elizabeth II's sapphire jubilee.
The venue was designed by Architects Saunders Boston and features an unusual design, with the ice rink positioned on top of other leisure facilities - there are only 3 such designs nationwide.
The ice rink has a capacity for 1200 skaters, with a spectator capacity of 900 - the swimming pool beneath has a further capacity of 200. Ferco Seating were tasked with installing the spectator seating and the ARC Lite was chosen for both the ice rink seating and the pool seating, due to its durability and resistance to both moisture and extreme temperatures. The ARC Lite also offers a slim profile and double-walled seat and backrest. Sapphire Ice and Leisure chose four complementary colours for their seating installation.
Headingley Cricket Ground
Leed's Emerald Headingly Cricket Ground was established in 1890 and is now one the world's major cricket grounds. The construction of the ground's Carnegie Pavilion was built on a tight site, with a four-storey pavilion completed in 2010 offering a capacity of over 1000 spectators. Ferco's ARC One Stadium seat was installed in both outdoor tiers of the pavilion - designed specifically for outdoor use, the ARC One is free of components which may be altered from exposure to light or moisture.
Guernsey Hockey Club
The upgrade to the existing facilities Guernsey's Hockey Club at Footes Lane was in association with Culture & Leisure with JG Architecture appointed to the upgrade. The project's aim was to extend the spectator viewing capacity to 120 seats. Ferco Seating were asked to install the innovative and slim folding FCB-M seat into the spectator areas, designed in the custom green of their club colours.
For more information on our spectator seating range, get in touch with Ferco Seating today.