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Telescopic Seating For Today's Multipurpose Venues

By Jason Vanderground

March 13, 2020

Dickies 4849

Arenas aren’t what they used to be—owners are continually finding new and intriguing uses for them. A better term for the latest breed of arena is, “multipurpose venue.” As the name implies, these spaces have more to offer under one roof than ever before. Which only makes sense given the business needed to create more revenue streams in order to capture more entertainment dollars.

This is where telescopic, or retractable, seating comes into play. Knowing that various forms of entertainment have unique footprints, seating needs to be able to flex within the fixed walls of the venue. Every inch matters. With telescopic solutions, audience seating can be brought into the action for events that occupy a smaller footprint and then seamlessly retracted (or temporarily removed) to make room when a major event rolls into town.

The recently opened Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas, is a fitting example of this. With Irwin telescopic seating integrated into the plan, the space goes from 9,000 seats for a rodeo event to more than 14,000 seats for a basketball game. For venues, it’s an automated form of seating flexibility.

Smoother, Safer Seating Changeover

Venue seating not only needs to be flexible, it also needs to be efficient to roll out and put away. This means systems designed to accommodate swift event changeover (sometimes within 24 hours), while ensuring the physical wellbeing not only of guests but also venue staff. In many ways, telescopic seating needs to have your back. To avoid placing unnecessary wear and tear on venue staff, Irwin systems are designed to be effortlessly mobilized, securely locked into place, and stored when not in use.

Creating The Ideal Guest Experience

Unlike fixed seating solutions, telescopic seating is called upon to adapt to a range of activities. With that said, it still has to feel the same as the seats a few rows up, the ones bolted to the ground. As much as venue owners depend on adaptable solutions, if the seat isn’t comfortable, substantial, and tailored to the guest experience, it’s hard to justify the ticket price.

Chair Apparent

No matter the event, guests expect a comfortable, supportive seat—one that’s on par with their favorite seat at home. This explains the growing popularity of telescopic chair options. Whether cushioned, with or without armrests, Irwin offers a variety of options to choose from. Our VersaTract telescopic seating system can be specified based on the specific vision you have for your facility. Design teams can customize down to the color of the team logo or how efficient the cleanup process needs to be. Engineered with understructure components that surpass industry standards for safety, peace of mind is part of the design.

Planning Ahead

The best planning begins early. At Irwin, we work closely with venues and their design teams to ensure the safe physical relationship of guest to the various events hosted throughout the year. Our telescopic solutions integrate aisle, end, and front rails to provide efficient egress and help maintain a safe distance. Working from a deep understanding of evolving safety regulations, our goal is to bring guests close to the action; just not dangerously close.

Sight lines are another design element that can’t be overlooked, or easily reversed once the concrete is poured. To ensure the best viewing perspective from every seat in the house, Irwin offers more than a century’s worth of venue design experience.

Our Vision Begins With Yours

Whether designing a high school gymnasium or the next Madison Square Garden, the demands placed on today’s multipurpose venues are high. With your unique vision in mind, Irwin works closely with architects and design teams to give guests an unrivaled seating experience.