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1. Literally, a front-row seat next to a boxing ring (thought to be the best place to watch the match). Wow, you got ringside seats to that fight? They must have cost thousands!
2. By extension, a place in close proximity to a certain situation or event. I unexpectedly had a ringside seat when a fight broke out at the bar. Living near this forest my whole life has given me a ringside seat to the changes in local bird populations over the years.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
A place providing a close view of something, as in We lived right next door, so we had ringside seats for their quarrels. This term presumably came from boxing, where it denotes the seats just outside the boxing ring. [c. 1860]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
a ringside seator
a ringside view
If you have a ringside seat or a ringside view, you have an excellent and clear view of what is happening somewhere. From this hotel, you get a ringside seat at the volcano's performance. The first US presidential election for which I had a ringside seat was that which brought John F. Kennedy to office over 30 years ago. Note: In boxing, the ringside seats are the seats that are closest to the ring and have the best view.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012