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Seating capacity refers to the number of people who can be seated in a specific space, either in terms of the physical space available, or in terms of limitations set by law. Seating capacity can be used in the description of anything ranging from an automobile that seats two to a stadium that seats over 100,000 people. The largest sporting venue in the world, the Indianapolis Motor Speedwaymarker, has a permanent seating capacity for more than 257,000 people and infield seating that raises capacity to an approximate 400,000.

Venues that may be leased for private functions such as ballrooms and auditoriums generally advertise their seating capacity. Seating capacity is also an important consideration in the construction and use of sports venues such as stadiums and arenas. When entities such as the NFL's Super Bowl Committee decide on a venue for a particular event, seating capacity – which reflects the possible number of tickets that can be sold for the event – is an important consideration.

Seating capacity differs from total capacity (sometimes called public capacity), which describes the total number of people who can fit in a venue or in a vehicle either sitting or standing. Where seating capacity is a legal requirement, however – as it is in movie theaters and on airplane – then the law reflects the fact that the number of people allowed in should not exceed the number who can be seated. Use of the term "public capacity" indicates that a venue can permissibly hold more people than it can actually seat.

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