Our guide to everything bleachers.


How Bleachers 101 Works

For the past 40 years, we at Sport Systems have dedicated ourselves to designing, manufacturing and installing industry leading athletic infrastructure and equipment.  Over time, we have fielded thousands of questions from our wonderful clientele and found that time and time again, many of the questions people have when purchasing bleachers remain the same.

We found that in order to find the right bleacher system, we typically have to answer the same core group of questions. 

Here they are:

What is the difference between Grandstands and Stadium Bleachers?

Grandstands are the larger, more complex seating system when comparing the two...Click To Read More


What is the difference in “Elevated Bleachers” and “Non-Elevated Bleachers”?

Typically speaking, elevated bleachers are usually larger in size and are used when spectator visibility is a main concern. Elevated bleachers...Click To Read More


What are Tip & Roll Bleachers?

Tip & Roll Bleacher Systems are your go-to choice when looking for a quick and versatile seating solution when only temporary seating is required...Click To Read More


What is Rise Height & Tread Depth?

Rise Height refers to the vertical measurement from the top of one bleacher seat to the top of the bleacher seat in the next row. Tread Depth refers to the depth or horizontal measurement of the front of a bleacher seat to the front of the bleacher seat in the next row.


What are some safety precautions I should take into consideration for new or existing bleachers?

Checking any exterior hardware, welds, handrails, anchors and lubrication points is a great start.  Read our article 6 Steps to Ensure Bleacher Safety for more information.


What is a Riser Board or a Plank?

This term refers to a piece of aluminum that is attached underneath the seats and behind spectators feet, which closes the open area between the seating plank and foot plank. Riser boards come in standard aluminum “mill finish” or can be coloured.


Can Sport Systems assemble my bleachers for me and deliver them to me?

Yes! We have developed a service program allowing our end users to receive their bleachers in a ready-to-use state, without any time investment and the hassle that can sometimes accompany in-house assembly...Click to Read More


Can I make my existing bleachers portable or mobile?

In the event your facility did not initially purchase a mobile bleacher system, we do have a unique solution to quickly retrofit your existing bleachers into a safe and easy-to-move transportable seating system.  Effectively converting your existing bleacher seating into a mobile seating solution involves two bleacher tow kits; a bracing kit and a wheel and tongue kit. Here’s how they work...Click to Read More


What can I do to make my bleachers more accessible for those with disabilities?

Over the past decade, there have been some much needed changes and updates applied to major legislation here in North America regarding accessibility for people with disabilities. These changes have paved the way for facilities to create environments that go well beyond simply retrofitting a physical location with wheelchair access.  These changes take into account those living with disabilities by allowing all participants and spectators equal access to our sports equipment and infrastructure, providing a safe and inclusive environment for all...Click to Read More


Are my bleachers at risk to theft?

Over the past 10 or so years, we have seen a dramatic increase in both demand and therefore, price paid for raw metals. A direct result of this is a paired increase in the number of thieves targeting athletic facilities, high schools, universities, colleges and public park properties for their rows upon rows of aluminum.  Bleachers are not among the only targets of these fly-by-night thieves, there have also been various thefts of player’s benches, aluminum tables and a number of other metal-based products left outdoors...Read How to Prevent Bleacher Theft


What are Portable Bleachers?

Portable bleachers can be a great addition to any sports facility, giving your added versatility and the ability for your fans to watch your event in multiple locations. There are a couple of factors to consider when thinking about purchasing transportable bleachers, firstly whether they will be used primarily indoors or outdoors along with determining what size of bleachers you will need, as answered below...Click to Read More


What size of bleachers do I need?

As a general rule of thumb, we recommend about 18” of space for an individual seat. Meaning for every 18” of space per seating platform, you should attribute one seat. For illustration purposes we will use our BL-4TB-12DR 4-Tier Aluminum Bleachers, measuring at 144" x 82" x 38" for a total of 576” of total seating space. Divide that number by our standard 18” per person measurement and you are looking at seating for about 32 people. This is an easy calculation to help you assess your seating needs...Click to Read More


What is the typical width of a seat?

Excluding chair back seats, standard aluminum seat width is 18".  This number can, however, vary depending on a client's specific needs.


Can I install my own small bleachers?

Yes – many of our smaller bleacher product lines are easily assembled at the job site with your own employees and workers. We always provide simple installation guidelines from which to work.


What’s the difference between gross and net seating capacity?

To find the gross seating capacity of a bleacher, take the length of the unit divided by 18” and then multiply by the number of rows in the unit. Net seating is the gross seating, minus the seating lost due to aisles and handicap space requirements.  Net seating is directly affected by building code compliance.


Are guard rails required on my bleachers?

Canada - If the unit you are purchasing has a seat height anywhere in the unit of 48” or greater, typically guard railing is required for that unit at those points.

USA - If the unit you are purchasing has a seat height anywhere in the unit of 30” or greater, typically guard railing is required for that unit at those points.


What options are available for guard rail of stands reaching more than 30"(USA) or 48” (Canada) in height?

Bleachers come standard with galvanized chain link fence but can be ordered with optional black vinyl chain link fence or vertical picket rail.


What materials do you use in your bleachers and grandstands?

On our angle frame product we use either aluminum angle or galvanized steel angle.  On our grandstand product the structure is galvanized steel.  All decking and seats are extruded aluminum, although there is the option for plastic chair seating.


Under what circumstances is it preferable to choose aluminum frame over galvanized frames for bleachers? 

With wooden bleachers becoming a thing of the past, more sports fields and facilities are turning to either aluminum or galvanized steel bleacher systems...Click to read more


Do You Have A Glossary Of Terms Related To Bleachers?

Of course, read our Bleachers Glossary here.










Bleachers 101 has been designed to serve as a road map to make it easy to navigate through these core questions.  Some of the above questions contain links to other pages.  These pages contain video, commentary, photos, and links to related articles which are all dedicated to teaching you about the topic at hand.




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