Stadium Seating: Is it ok to take unoccupied seats?

by epi on September 11, 2012

Q: Is there an unspoken rule about how long you have to wait before taking empty (and better) seats at a baseball game?

A: The rule is to sit in the seats you purchased, tempting as moving up may be.  The best way to get great seats is to buy them.  When the park is nearly empty of the staff encourages fans to move up so the television cameras can capture shots of fan-filled stands, there’s more wiggle room.  Just be prepared to be gracious and move if the rightful owners show up.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Ashleigh September 11, 2012 at 10:43 am

To look at it from the perspective of other spectators, it is extremely irritating to miss the action of the game when the rightful owners of the seats show up and there is a big rearrange getting the movers out of the seats into their original ones. It is also rude to make the owners of the original seats wait for their seats to be vacated. They may be juggling food, children, souvenirs, whatever and just want to get to their seat and settle in. I used to have bleacher tickets at one of the baseball stadiums and I would encounter people who would get annoyed that I wanted to sit in my own seats or, even better, people who would simply scoot over a little bit so my boyfriend and I could squash into our seats (essentially trying to fit 4 people in 2 seats).

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Jerry September 11, 2012 at 7:56 pm

As any sports fan will tell you, there are absolutely unspoken rules about moving up to better seats. Unfortunately, they vary depending on the ballpark, the time of year (i.e., early in the season, late in the season), who’s playing (good team, bad team), the inning, and how well your own team is doing.

The basic idea is that you should try to take better seats unless you’re fairly sure that their rightful owners won’t show up. Under normal circumstances, I’d say that you don’t try to move any earlier than the 4th inning.

(And EPI, your comment that “[t]he best way to get great seats is to buy them,” is in contention for dumbest sentence of the year. The question wasn’t how does one get great seats — the question is whether it is ever ok to move down to better seats. And the OP probably asked the question because he or she is having a disagreement with a significant other as to whether it is ever ok to do this very thing.)

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Joanna September 12, 2012 at 12:23 pm

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I was just thinking that. Frankly, it’s a rather snobby thing to say. Obviously, in a perfect universe, everyone would purchase seats right by the action. However, in real life, these seats are terribly expensive, especially if you’re taking along the kids, need to buy food and parking, etc. So I’m sure that many times, people don’t have much choice about where their seats are — unless they want to skip the event altogether.

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