Less Can Be More: Two Hot New Trends in IAVM Spectator Seating

I spent yesterday in North Carolina at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex talking with Director Matt Brown and Deputy Director Scott Johnson about replacing the 20 year old Hussey Olympiad arena seats that I sold them in 1991.

The Greensboro Coliseum complex is an impressive operation made up of 7 different facilities hosting more than 850 events on an annual basis. So to say Matt and Scott are busy men is an understatement to say the least, and they run an absolutely first rate venue. And as savvy as these IAVM veterans are, they’re always looking to improve their patrons’ experience.

Two initiatives they’re looking to implement as part of this seating renovation really jumped out at me during our conversation:

  1. Matt and Scott’s willingness to reduce seat count for patron comfort
  2. Their commitment to recycle and reuse the existing seats

Both of these are significant shifts from typical stadium and arena management practices. For most of my 36-year career at Hussey Seating Company, facilities have typically wanted to maximize seating capacity. Wanting to maximize the sheer number of seats has been the norm. And one of the ways that’s typically accomplished is by making each seat smaller. More seats, sure, but not necessarily the best seating solution for the average fan.

Matt and Scott are committed to really improving the fan experience by using larger seats and going with fully upholstered “theater style” chairs. I applaud them for their willingness to upgrade in both the size and comfort of their guest’s seating. They’ve got the vision to see that investing a little more up front in creating a better spectator seating environment will pay off in the long run with more satisfied patrons who will return again and again for the events held in this venue.

Since the existing Hussey seats in the Coliseum are still in excellent shape and have plenty of life left to them, Matt and Steve are committed to maximizing their useful life by reusing these seats in other venues within their complex as well as working with the city of Greensboro to see if they can be used around town in other venues. Part of the contract/ bid for this replacement work will be to reconfigure the seats so they can be utilized other spectator venues. The seats that are not used will be 100% recycled and not go to a landfill.

This is a very exciting project and is a wonderful example of how hard the IAVM managers work to improve their facilities and communities, in the process acting as great stewards for their hometowns.