12 Mar 2020

Aluminum Bleachers More In Need After Baseball And Softball Participation Hits It Out Of The Park

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aluminum bleachers

Aluminum bleachers in greater demand as participation in baseball grows.

With school baseball and softball seasons starting up soon, now is the time to upgrade your aluminum bleachers to make sure they are safe and able to handle the increased activity due to the spike in baseball and softball participation.

The latest reported trends demonstrate large increases in baseball and softball participation for those aged six years old and higher.

The National Federation of High Schools reports that their affiliated baseball programs alone account for almost 15,000 teams and half a million participating students, both male and female.

Totals for two- and four-year Colleges and Universities, including NCAA Division I, II and III programs, NJCAA and others, reported over 1,600 teams and 48,000 participants in their baseball programs.

Add in the growing youth programs to these high school and college-level baseball players, participation numbers have increased to the second-highest level since at least 2006.

According to the report, after a decline in 2014, there has been a growth trend that now has overall participation in softball and baseball programs for those over the age of six topping out at over 15 ½ million participants.

Those expanding numbers are great for the sport. But imagine the secondary effects of near record-breaking participation statistics will also be felt.

Aluminum bleachers provide the seating solution

Expanding participation numbers now, especially in younger aged children, lead to consistent player participation rates for years to come as they grow and move through the various stages of baseball and softball.

These additional teams and players will translate to both increased attendance at all the different summer leagues available, the local little leagues, various stages of men’s and women’s softball and baseball, and all the growing local, state, regional and national tournaments.

You will soon realize the need to look at your current bleacher seating structures and capacity and decide on the need for more or updated aluminum bleacher seating to handle the increased load from these teams and their families that will be visiting baseball and softball complexes across the country, including yours.

Now is the time to upgrade, replace or expand your current aluminum bleachers to accommodate the corresponding expected increase in spectators, including friends, family, neighbors, and relatives of the participants.

The Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism got an early jump on installing new aluminum bleacher seating so it would be ready and available before the beginning of its youth baseball program this spring.

The bleachers that are being replaced were at least 40 years old. That antiquated seating needed to be removed and replaced to provide a safe, comfortable place for the fans, family, and neighbors in the community to sit and watch youth baseball.

In addition to being safer and more accessible for everyone, the new aluminum bleachers will also include sunscreens to keep spectators cooler in the heat of summer and protect them from the damaging effects of the sun.

With new aluminum bleachers and additional updated amenities, the public park can also expect to host additional games, tournaments, and events at their updated Mountain Home facility.

What can you do to accommodate the expected increase in spectators?

  • Have your aluminum bleachers inspected by licensed professionals to ensure their safety, stability and code compliance? Guardrails and fencing may be mandated to cover and prevent access to openings that may pose a hazard. Slips, trips, and falls are always credited annually with a high percentage of overall accidents, upwards of 29% over the last reporting cycle. Getting your aluminum bleacher structure inspected for proper slip resistance, code-compliant railings, walkways, and steps is the right thing to do to prevent unnecessary spectator accidents and to protect yourself from any resulting debilitating lawsuits.
  • Get your aluminum bleachers inspected to make sure they are code compliant to ADA specifications regarding access, maneuverability, safety, and seating issues. ADA seating is usually based on overall seating capacity, and as our general population is getting older, it’s important to consider ADA amenities when updating, expanding or replacing your aluminum bleachers. More spectators will fall into that older group, needing additional accessibility-related amenities. (Call the expert staff at AluminumBleachers.com if you have any questions about ADA bleachers).
  • Consider shade structures for your aluminum bleachers and picnic tables and gathering places. We all know the concerns of too much sun exposure. And climate change has helped our annual temperature ranges rise. Help protect your spectators by installing sunshades over the areas of aluminum bleachers that are not protected by other means. Sun shaded structures will keep the spectators more comfortable providing a more enjoyable experience. Sunshades will keep your aluminum bleacher planks cooler. Shade structures are also ideal for gathering places and over picnic tables. Those same types of structures can be located over player benches, scorer’s tables and judges’ tables. Other uses include over the main stage or a concession area. With shade structures installed, the area will remain cooler with less direct sun exposure, allowing spectators to stay outside longer, enjoy quality outdoor time and have a more enjoyable experience.

2020 Summer Olympics To Include Baseball And Softball

For the first time since 2008, the sports of baseball and softball will be added and featured at the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

That’s good news for the continued popularity of these sports in the future. That new exposure traditionally means increased interest and participation.

Reintroducing baseball and softball competition in the 2020 Olympic Games allows an entirely new group of spectators including adults and children alike, to get a chance to see the sport played for the first time. That glimpse into the game makes fans and participants out of first-time spectators.

That’s good news for fields, parks, and venues that host baseball and softball, as that increased interest and participation will no doubt lead to a need for more venues and places to hold games and tournaments.

More participants mean more friends and family in the bleachers to watch, cheer and support their favorite team and players. We recently saw this with the 2019 US Women’s World Cup Soccer Championship spiking a renewed interest in soccer and the need for more soccer fields and aluminum bleacher seating.

Your responsibility is to have enough code compliant, safe and secure aluminum bleachers to provide every spectator of every ability a place to do so.

By Gerald Dlubala

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