Unusual seat gaps

Looking at the NEZ construction camera over the past few days I notice an unusual pattern in the red chairback seats. At first I thought they had just not completed installing the seats, but there are no empty rows or columns to suggest that. Instead there are several random open spots within rows or spaced in such a way that I wonder if those are intentionally left empty. Either to have some additional room or a spot for some other purpose. It’s a question I’m sure I’ll get the answer to if I just watch for a few more days, but if those are simply spaces where seats are to go, it’s a very strange installation pattern. Anyone know?

Looks to me like its just a little haphazard installation. They’re not installing one row and moving on to the next. One thing about semi-wedge-shaped sections like we have in that area; not all the seats may be exactly the same width. They may have ordered 21-inch seats for those spots and realized they actually need 20-inch seats to fit there.

Swine is probably right. They normally mix seat sizes so that the ends of the rows at the aisles line up but when the next row is longer, then there is a different combination of 19", 20", 21", 22", 23", & maybe 24" seats to get the end seats to line up. They may have some “culls” seats that were misfabbed and need to be replaced or they may have come up short when they ordered certain sizes and are waiting for the new ones to fill those gaps to come in.

So, if you are vertically challenged (like me) you are guaranteed to be sitting right behind someone if you are on the ends of a row and you have a chance to be between two someones in front of you if you are near the middle. :smiley:

I’ll be bringing my tape measure on the 1st, I paid for a 21" seat! !

I did too. If they have to awkwardly space some of the seats to get 21" seats to fit in the row, they’re just going to have to do that. I was told 21" seats, mine had better be that.

I’m not very broad in the fanny, but my son and his mom both are, so I’m sensitive to this issue (the ex and I went to a game in Fenway Park once and she absolutely could not even fit into the seat, much less do so comfortably; we wound up sitting in folding chairs right behind the visitors’ bullpen, which wasn’t too bad although she was very embarrassed). Our seats in the east club at RRS were, I’m pretty sure, 20" and my son did just fine with them. But yeah, if they told you you’re getting 21 inches I’d be checking too. They didn’t specify a width for us in the EIC and 20 worked out well.

It all depends on whether 21" is the average or the minimum seat dimension. The space is from center of armrest to center of armrest, NOT the actual width your butt has to fit into. The armrests are usually 2"+/-. If the aisles are straight and each row is the same, then they all may be 21". Whenever one or both aisles are angled, then they use other sizes to adjust the row to keep the end seats lined up at the aisles.

It never occurred to me the seat widths might vary. I just assumed they were all a standard size. I have no idea what “standard” is & I’m pretty sure all of us would like more space than less. It makes sense to me that some seats might be a bit smaller than others when there’s a slight curve in the row & there’s a desire to make the ends stay in a reasonably straight line.

However, if we’re discussing seat widths, I never noticed any problems with those in the club areas being too small. I’m sure some patrons might feel cramped.

The bleachers are a different matter. Because there are no arm rests and the bleachers are flat, a wide bottom fits as well as a narrow one—except for one very important thing. They try to squeeze too many people into a row. At least they do that at WMS. I don’t know how much room they allot per seat in RRS, but I’d bet it’s no more than about 16-18 inches in WMS. Well, okay, maybe a bit more than that, but there’s no way they’re 21 inches apart.

I took a tape measure to a spring practice scrimmage in RRS some time in the Bielema era. West sideline seats in the lower deck were less than 18" wide. Pretty sure that the seats I used to have in the old 115 (it appears that with the NEZ project lower deck sections have been renumbered; where I used to sit is now E124) were the same width.

Tennessee was notorious for moving seat stickers closer together on the benches in Neyland to increase capacity without actually doing any expansion. I think I read that the average Vol fanny is allotted less than 16 inches. If everybody looked like me, fine, but that’s not the case, and I suspect it’s very uncomfortable. That 17.5 in RRS is bad enough.

If they’re less than 18" in RRS, I’d bet they’re no more than 16" in WMS. WMS just always seemed more cramped to me. Part of that is the fact that the vertical space between rows is less than it should be by probably 2-3 inches or more. Still, I always felt I had less sitting room in WMS than in RRS. Of course, if the stands are only 85% full or less, people can spread out a bit on the rows. I don’t recall too many games at RRS where capacity was really strained to the limit.

Row depth is also an important part of feeling cramped. I believe RRS is 27" per row from what I remember of my measurements. And the vertical rise per row was 12 inches, which wouldn’t be steep if the rows were deeper but gets pretty steep for a 27" tread. I’ve never measured WMS but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s less than that, and the vertical rise is less than RRS, I’m pretty sure.

Getting away from the immediate point, that steepness at RRS produces what stadium architects would call a high C value. C value is just a measurement of the ability of a spectator to see the action above the heads of those seated in front of him or her without standing up. A really good C value would be 120 mm, which is 4.72 inches. C of 60 mm is regarded as an absolute minimum, and with that you may be leaning to one side to see between the heads of the folks in front. Calculation of C value is pretty complicated and involves not only the height and depth of rows, but the distance to the nearest point you want the spectators to be able to see. In football, that’s normally the near sideline. The closer the seats are to the field, the steeper the rise has to be to get the C value you want. RRS originally had a track, and when they took that out in the '70s they added new rows where the track used to be. WMS is pretty snug to the field (no track ever) and doesn’t have the steepness to compensate.

You’ve given a whole lot more information than I ever thought about when it comes to stadium seating, sighting & comfort, but it all makes sense. Since I’m “vertically challenged” I like the idea of significant height between the rows. But you’re also right about depth. Another problem at WMS & probably in the stands at RRS, is how difficult it is to walk to/from an interior seat to/from the aisle. Stepping & falling over people between the seat & aisle is bad whether you’re the stepper or the “steppee.”

I know we’re simply stuck with whatever the dimensions of the stands at RRS. About the only thing we improve is widening the space allotted for seats. That’s not something any of us want to see since it would reduce the stadium capacity. There are 7 sections on each side & there are about 50-55 rows in each as I recall. Widen the space on each row by removing 1 seat & you take away about 700-800 tickets. Widen it by two & you take away about 1600 tickets. I don’t see the UA wanting to do that unless it could install chairback seats (maybe not enough depth) & command enough more per ticket to make up for the loss in tickets. Still, that might be the kind of thing the next upgrade could do. It would increase comfort & maybe meet the reduction in sideline capacity by increasing it somewhere else. Just a thought

Problem with that, Chip, is if you go to chairbacks, the problem of stumbling over your neighbor to get to the concession stand gets even worse. RRS was not built for chairbacks. You really need a row depth of 30 inches or more if you’re going to go with chairbacks, even with tip-up seats that fold out of the way if not in use such as Baum has. And 32 inches would be better. In English soccer, where chairbacks were essentially legally required after 98 people were crushed to death at an FA Cup match, they recommend 32 inches per row and a minimum of 20 inches per seat.

The only way you’re going to get 30-32 inches per row on our sidelines would be to do what the Aggies did: Tear down the lower deck and start over. And given the space limitations of that, you’d wind up with an 11% reduction in the number of rows for 30 inches and worse for 32. Going to 20 inch seats would also cut the number of seats in each row by 10% or more. So you’d be looking at a serious capacity reduction in the lower deck, from about 20,000 on each sideline to less than 16,000. You’d have to generate some serious extra revenue to justify that.

Looking at the webcam this morning, a lot of those seat gaps in the lower tier have been filled in. Maybe those 20-inch chairs arrived :smiley:

I notice in the second SEZ level that there are some tiny gaps, probably less than 6 inches, perhaps working around a bend in the stands or getting the end of the rows even by leaving a gap in the middle. The section that wraps around the end of the suites in the northeast corner starts out with 14 seats per row (you can blow up the webcam image to 560% for a better look) then drops down to 12 seats per row closer to the front of the balcony, with some gaps in those front rows.

Been away from the board so am late getting back on this post. 18" per seat is code minimum so there is never a 16" wide legal seat. The depth is set by the exit width from nose of one seat to back of the other. 12" is code minimum and it goes up as you get more folks than 7 on a dead end and 10 on an “open on both ends” row. There is a table in the code that sets the exit row width per capacity. So, if your bench seat is 10" deep, the minimum row dept is 22", but you rarely see less than 24". Stadium back seats are a lot deeper than 10", but they can have a seat that automatically flips up when unoccupied so that helps. 32" row depth is about the minimum for stadium seats.

Personally, I think armrests are over rated. To me, they just take up room and cup holders is about the only good thing they provide. You can’t share an armrest so you are lucky to get to use one and sometimes you get none. My favorite stadium or gym seating is a comfort curved plastic bench seat with a continuous back rest. The back support is the prime benefit of stadium seating. If you get rid of the armrests, you can spread out your spacing if you want to and little folks aren’t taking up twice as much room as they need for their seat. Plastic stadium seats with armrests can run $150, where the comfort curved bench with a backrest runs about $50 and just a flat aluminum 2x10 is about $20 per seat. When you have thousands, those cost differences can add up quickly.

Yup. I noticed at the two European soccer stadiums I’ve visited that they had individual seats with back supports but no armrests, which makes the squeeze a bit better.

Agree about arm rests. Pretty useless in a stadium situation. Individual seats with backs & without arm rests are ideal to me. I don’t know if RRS has the space to make that change.

I understand what you’re saying about codes, but both WMS & the original stands at RRS were built so long ago I doubt there were codes–at least none we’d expect today. As far as 16-18" seat widths, I’m sure they can be (or maybe were) widened to fit code since they’re just numbers pasted on the bleacher. I don’t claim to know the actual width of the seats at WMS, but I can tell you they seem more narrow than they need to be & I think I recall them squeezing more numbers into the rows in the late 60’s. Regardless, if the minimum is 18", I suppose they meet that. It’d still be nice if they were wider. As for depth between the rows & height between the rows, well, WMS is a concrete structure that can’t be changed. The lower third or so of RRS is also concrete–built by the WPA in the 1930’s. The steel structure above it might as well be concrete. I can’t imagine it being changed. Don’t pretend to know how difficult or expensive it’d be to make the change, but I’m confident it’s more than anyone would want to spend.