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In the United States and Canada, the nosebleed section are the seats of a public area, 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, "A guy could get 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".
In the 109th episode of NBC sitcom Seinfeld ("The Face Painter"), on being offered tickets for the Stanley Cup playoff game between the New York Rangers and the New Jersey Devils by Alec Berg, Jerry Seinfeld is told "If you don't mind the nose bleed section, they're yours".
In episode 22 of the first season of the NBC series Friday Night Lights, running back Timothy Riggins after passing on a set of tickets to the Texas State Championship to a young family, the mother of whom he has been romantically acquainted, forgets that the tickets were originally promised to his former love interest Tyra Collette. Being as she made the trip to Dallas he provides her with four players' tickets with the caveat that "those are nosebleeds".
The Australian 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.
The band Imagine Dragons also have cited the expression with the meaning of a concert section in their song "Thunder". In the verse "Now I'm smiling from the stage, while you were clapping in the nosebleeds" they show they are the successful ones, while people who criticized them at an early age are now admiring them.
American rapper Post Malone used the expression in his song “White Iverson”. He says in his verse “Bitch I'm smiling, bet you see me from the nosebleeds”. This line refers to his happiness performing and the fact that people know him.
American rapper Kanye West uses this same expression in Gucci Mane's song "P**** Print" in which he is featured, "I can take you from nose bleeds to the floor seats". This line refers to the girls that Kanye used to sleep with before he was with Kim Kardashian, in which he would get all the p**** he wants in exchange for floor seats.
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