Reserved seat control apparatus and system for arenas, stadiums and theaters
There is provided a reserved seat system for stadiums, arenas and theaters to limit the use of reserved seats to those having a specific ticket for that particular seat for that particular event at that particular time. The system employs seats in which the pivoting seating portion can be locked in an upraised position, which lock can be unlocked using a ticket having appropriate indicia to be deciphered by a ticket reader in the arm of the seat. The system is preferably controlled by an electronic lock system utilizing a central computer. The central computer randomly changes the electronic lock opening signals after each event to prevent a spectator retained ticket from being used at a subsequent event to unlock a seat occupied in the previous event. The central computer further provides instructions for ticket indicia creation for each subsequent event, provides instructions for printing replacement tickets for those purchased from third party ticket sellers, and provides a signal to all seats after an event is concluded for ticket spitters to discharge all tickets from ticket readers in the seats so that floor sweeping results in the disposal of all ticket left in the ticket readers after the spectators depart.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to the field of structures that house public events such as stadiums and arenas for sporting contests and theaters for the presentation of plays. Most specifically, it relates to an apparatus and system to limit the use of reserved seats to those having a specific ticket for that particular seat for that particular event at that particular time.
2. Description of the Prior Art
The overwhelming majority of the events staged in arenas, stadiums, and theaters involve the sales of reserved seats that are priced according to their proximity to the event itself. Thus it is well known that at a football stadium the highest priced tickets are next to the field and at the fifty yard line. The operators of the structures in which such events are staged frequently employ ushers or other crowd control personnel to guide attendees to their reserved seats before the beginning of the event. These people also serve the function before the event of preventing people from accessing reserved seats for which they lack a ticket. However, some time after an event has commenced, ushers or other crowd control people leave the structure resulting in few, if any, personnel policing access to unoccupied reserved seats by those lacking a ticket for same.
It is frequently a source of some aggravation to the proprietors of these facilities and also to their patrons that during the course of a public event that people who not have paid for premium seating occupy the premium seats when it becomes clear which seats are not in use. The present invention provides an apparatus and method of use to terminate the unauthorized use of reserved seats in public facilities.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Bearing in mind the foregoing, this is a principal object of the present invention to control on a positive real time basis access to reserved seats in public facilities such as arenas, stadiums and theaters.
A related object of the invention to be able to guarantee to patrons who pay for premium seating that their seating areas will be limited to use by like patrons.
Another object of the invention is to encourage greater sales of premium seating because premium seating areas can no longer be accessed without the same being the subject of full payment therefor.
An additional object of the invention is to ensure that tickets can not be reused for the same seat at a subsequent event because seating designations are changed following the termination of the first event.
Another object of the invention is to ensure that all ticket readers discharge their tickets upon conclusion of the event.
Other objects and advantages will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon reference to the following descriptions and the appended drawings.
In accordance with the principal aspect of the invention, there is provided a reserved seat in which the pivoting seating portion can be locked in an upraised position, which lock can be unlocked using a ticket having appropriate indicia to be deciphered by a ticket reader in the arm of the seat. The system is preferably controlled by an electronic lock system utilizing a central computer.
More specifically, the first component is that the seat includes a seating portion pivotable about a pivot axis with a lower position in which the seat can be occupied and a upper or raised position where it cannot. Coupled with this is a resilient urging means which will raise the seat to its upper position when it is not held down by being occupied or otherwise as provided with this invention.
The next component is a lock schematically disposed between the seat frame and the pivotable seat. The lock is arranged such that when the seat is raised it is locked into position and cannot be lowered unless the user presents proper authorization. The invention preferably includes an electronic lock system controlled by a computer such as is employed in hotels. The electronic lock system controls the locks on all of the reserved seats in the facility in the same manner as guest room doors are controlled in a hotel, including the fact that the locks are changed for each reserved seat randomly by the computer after each event. The next component is a ticket reader that is disposed in one arm of the seat. This includes a slot that is analogous to the slot in a hotel guest room door into which a key card is inserted. The ticket reader further includes the additional function of a ticket spitter to discharge any tickets left in the ticket readers after the event has terminated. Another aspect includes tickets containing indicia such as bar codes which are read by the ticket reader in the arm seat. While this indicia could be magnetic strips as used in hotel key cards, a less expensive alternative is the preferred embodiment in the form of bar codes or the like, considering that the used tickets will almost inevitably all be discarded after the event.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Various other features of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art and from the following discussion taken in conjunction with the appended drawings in which:
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
As required detailed embodiments of the present invention are disclosed herein; however, it is to be understood that the disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the invention which may be embodied in various forms. Therefore, specific structural and functional details disclosed herein are not be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a basis for the claims and as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to variously employed the present invention in largely any appropriately detailed structure.
References now made to the drawings wherein like characteristics in features of the present invention showing the various figures are designated by the same references numerals.
Turning finally to
Because the invention contemplates the random changing of the electronic locks opening signals by the central computer after each event to prevent a ticket retained by a spectator from a prior event from being used to unlock a given seat at a later event, the invention contemplates that the central computer will provide ticket indicia creation instructions for a succeeding event. These instructions are provided to a conventional ticket printing device (not shown).
Further, because tickets to events are usually not all purchased from a stadium, arena, or theater box office, the invention contemplates the use of tickets purchased from outside third party ticket sellers (e.g., “Ticketmaster®”) that will likely not have equipment to print indicia such as bar codes on the tickets, the invention contemplates the installation of indicia printers 62 at entrances to stadiums, arenas and theaters which will recognize third party ticket sellers' indicia, and print a ticket compatible with the inventive system indicia in the manner of conventional self serve airline boarding pass printers being used at airports at the time of this writing.
While the invention has been described, disclosed, illustrated and shown in various terms or certain embodiments or modifications which it has assumed in practice, the scope of the invention is not intended to be, nor should it be deemed to be, limited thereby and such other modifications or embodiments as may be suggested by the teachings herein are particularly reserved especially as they fall within the breadth and scope of the claims here appended.
1. A reserved seat control apparatus comprising:
- a seat having a movable portion to alternately allow access to the seat for occupying it and to deny access to the seat to prevent occupying it;
- a locking mechanism controlling when the movable portion allows access to the seat and when the movable portion denies access to the seat: and
- a means to unlock the locking mechanism.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 which further comprises means to resiliently urge the movable portion to a position denying access to the seat when the seat is unoccupied.
3. The apparatus of claim 1 in which the movable portion is a seating portion pivotable about a pivot axis connected to a frame of the seat, and in which when the seating portion is raised it denies access to the seat and when the seating portion is lowered it allows access to the seat.
4. The apparatus of claim 1 in which the locking mechanism includes an electronic lock controlled by a computer in electrical communication with the electronic lock.
5. The apparatus of claim 4 in which the means to unlock the locking mechanism further comprises:
- a ticket having indicia thereon;
- at least one arm rest on the seat;
- a slot disposed in an end of the arm rest which slot is adapted to accept an end to the ticket; and
- a ticket reader to decipher the indicia disposed on the ticket and send a signal to the computer to unlock the electronic lock.
6. The apparatus of claim 5 in which the computer is programmed to randomly change the electronic lock opening signal after the conclusion of an event and to provide indicia creation instructions for a succeeding event as a result of randomly changing the electronic lock opening signal.
7. The apparatus of claim 5 which further comprises a ticket spitter in the ticket reader to discharge the ticket out of the slot when an event is concluded.
8. The apparatus of claim 3 in which the locking mechanism includes a linkage between the seating portion of the seat and the electronic lock such that when the seating portion is raised, the linkage causes an inclined plane latch in the electronic lock to engage a latch chamber in the linkage thereby locking the apparatus in a position to deny access to the seat.
9. The apparatus of claim 8 in which the linkage comprises:
- a first spur gear attached to the seating portion concentric with and rotatable about the pivot axis;
- a locking mechanism axle disposed horizontally beneath the seating portion and parallel to the seat back;
- a second spur gear co-planar with the first spur gear and fixedly mounted on a first end of the locking mechanism axle to rotate therewith;
- a toothed belt around the first and second spur gears to cause them to rotate together;
- a pinion fixedly mounted to a second end of the locking mechanism axle to rotate therewith;
- a locking plate having a latch chamber and containing a rack that meshes with the pinion whereby the locking plate is driven by the rack and pinion to translate laterally toward the inclined plane latch in the electronic lock to engage the latch chamber in the locking plate when the seating portion is raised.
10. The apparatus of claim 9 in which at least some components of the linkage are disposed within a housing to prevent tampering with the locking mechanism.
11. The apparatus of claim 1 which further comprises a multiplicity of substantially similar such seats to form a system.
12. The system of claim 11 in which the locking mechanisms of all seats in the system include electronic locks that are all controlled by a central computer in electrical communication with all the electronic locks.
13. The system of claim 11 in which the means to unlock the locking mechanisms further comprises:
- a ticket for each seat having indicia thereon;
- at least one arm rest on each seat;
- slots disposed in the ends of the arm rests which slots are adapted to accept ends to the tickets; and
- ticket readers to decipher the indicia disposed on the tickets and send signals to a central computer to unlock each electronic lock if the indicia match requirements for a specific seat for which a specific ticket is presented.
14. The apparatus of claim 13 in which the central computer is programmed to randomly change all the electronic lock opening signals after the conclusion of an event, to provide ticket indicia creation instructions for a succeeding event as a result of randomly changing the electronic locks opening signals, and to provide instructions for the printing of tickets in a manner analogous to that used to print self serve airline boarding passes to replace tickets purchased from third party ticket sellers that lack the ability to print tickets having indicia readable by the ticket readers.
15. The apparatus of claim 14 which further comprises ticket spitters controlled by the central computer in all the ticket readers to discharge the tickets out of the slots when an event is concluded so that floor sweeping will dispose of all used tickets and clear all ticket readers.
Filed: Apr 1, 2005
Publication Date: Oct 19, 2006
Inventor: Ariel Ovadia (Brooklyn, NY)
Application Number: 11/095,134
International Classification: A47C 31/00 (20060101);