Delivering the ‘Please do not lean forward’ message better

Posted on June 4, 2011

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"Be considerate, do not lean forward"

Photo by Corey Masisak (@cmasisak22)

Corey Masisak with NHL.com tweeted the picture above from Vancouver’s Rogers Center tonight, pointing out that this Boston Bruins fan might be “in for an interesting evening” as an away fan at Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

What jumps out at me in the photo, as a Washington Capitals fan, are all the postings on the railings there in Vancouver that read: “Be considerate, do not lean forward.”

Though the set-up is different and doesn’t feature a railing between each row, people leaning forward in their seats and blocking the views of others is an issue during Caps games at Verizon Center (I’m guessing it’s a problem in many other arenas too and not only for hockey). Someone actually started a website called Verizon Center Leaners a little while back and people would send in pictures of fans leaning forward at Caps games and obstructing their view.

A video is shown before Caps games, where players go through some guidelines for fans, and it includes a request for people to not lean forward in their seats. The only problem is, many fans aren’t in their seats yet to see this message. I’ve heard the message is now shown between periods too—if so, you still have a lot of people not in their seats at that time.

I’d love to see the Caps add some sort of signage like the Canucks have encouraging fans not to lean forward. Perhaps they could place them on the back of the seats, on the floor or on the armrests. Or there might be some other creative way to get more people on the same page about it. The message isn’t getting through to some fans and I’ve seen some really awkward (and in some cases ugly) situations when one fan asks another to sit back in their seat so they can see.

I think the Caps do a great job at keeping people from returning to their seats when a puck is in play, with the ushers holding up “Stop” signs and not letting people through until a break in the action. If the team could do something equally as effective with the ‘please don’t lean’ communication, I know I’m not the only one who’d appreciate it.

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