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In the United States and Canada, the nosebleed section (or nosebleed seats) are the seats of a public arena, usually an athletic stadium or gymnasium, that are highest and, usually, farthest from the desired activity. A common tongue-in-cheek reference to having seats at the upper tiers of a stadium is "sitting in the nosebleed section" or "nosebleed seats". The reference alludes to the propensity for nasal hemorrhage at high altitudes, usually owing to lower barometric pressure.
The origin of the expression may have been the 1970s television series Happy Days. Toward the end of one episode, Richie Cunningham (played by Ron Howard) and all his friends got to go to the JF&F concert, but the tickets were for seats way up top. Fonzie (played by Henry Winkler) uttered the words, "I'm gettin' a nosebleed up here". This seems to be the first documented popular use associating "nosebleed" with the way-up-high cheap seats at a spectator event.
In popular culture
Tom Petty's song "Money Becomes King" refers to a performer's original fans having to sit "way up in the nosebleeds".
Australia hip hop group Hilltop Hoods have a song titled "The Nosebleed Section". In the song, the meaning of nosebleed section is reversed to mean the front row. This is because when a person has a nosebleed, they are often instructed (incorrectly) to keep their head back and look straight up - as people are forced to do in the front row of a high-stage show.
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