Football is one of the most popular sports throughout the world. Millions of people all around the world watch the sport and it is a very important part of their life. So, it is natural that thousands of people come to the stadium to watch their favorite players and teams compete to win. Read more to find out the highest football attendance in stadiums.
Most of the popular clubs have spent millions in order to accommodate as many people as possible in the stadium during their games. They have expanded their stadiums to hold a very large number of people at a single time. TheFootballLovers have investigated the football attendance stats and made up a list of the top 10 highest football attendance records of all time.
There have been some massive crowds in stadiums over the years. However, which games in football history had the highest attendance? Here, we took a look at 10 of the biggest crowds in football history.
10. Man United vs Real Madrid (Official Attendance: 109,318)
International Champions Cup 2014 – Michigan Stadium, USA
The 10th highest football attendance ever was set on August 2nd 2014 when Manchester United played Real Madrid in an International Champions Cup match in America. The match was played in the Michigan Stadium which is at the University of Michigan. Man United faced off against Real Madrid in front of a record breaking sell-out crowd of 109,318. Eventually, Man United emerged the winners with a 3-1 win over the Los Blancos. Two goals from Ashley Young and one from Javier Hernandez secured the win for the Red Devils, despite an early penalty from Gareth Bale.
This was a football attendance record in the United States. It surpassed the previous record of 101,799. This was set at the 1984 Olympic Games Football Final played at the Rose Bowl in LA where France beat Brazil 2-0.
9. Mexico vs Brazil (Official Attendance: 110,000)
FIFA Confederations Cup 1999 – Azteca Stadium, Mexico
The 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup Final had the 9th highest football match attendance in the history of the sport. The match was played between Mexico and Brazil to determine the title holders of the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup. The official attendance was recorded to be 110,000. The match was held at Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, on 4 August 1999.
Mexico won the match 4–3, winning their first major title in history and becoming the first CONCACAF team to win the tournament. It was a thrilling match played in front of a very huge crowd. The atmosphere was incredible as Mexico lifted their trophy in front of their home crowd. The 110,000 people got to see a teenage Ronaldinho as well as Mexico’s No.10 Blanco.
8. FC Barcelona vs Juventus (Official Attendance: 120,000)
European Champion Clubs Cup 1986 – Camp Nou, Spain
The European Champions Club Cup Quarter final is ranked 8th in the list of highest football attendances ever. The first leg of the quarter final was played in Camp Nou on March 5, 1986. The Nou Camp is a historical stadium in Barcelona, Spain. It has great value in the Spanish culture. The official attendance during the game was recorded to be 120,000. Thus, it was the highest football attendance ever at the Camp Nou. The atmosphere in the ground was terrific as the Spanish audience urged the home team to get the win against the Italian giants Juventus.
The match ended up being very close. Both the teams battled it out and the score was even for the most part of the game. However, Barcelona emerged as the winners at the end of the match. Luis Alberto scored the winning goal in the 81st minute for the Catalan giants.
7. Bolton Wanderers vs West Ham United (Official Attendance: 126,047)
FA Cup Final 1923 – Wembley Stadium, England
The 1923 FA Cup Final is the 7th highest soccer attendance in the world. The final was played between Bolton Wanderers and West Ham United on 28 April 1923 at the original Wembley Stadium in England. This was the first-ever game to be played at the original Wembley Stadium.
The official attendance was recorded as 126,047 but many more fans gained entry and unofficial reports claim the attendance may have been as high as 300,000. The crowds were so big that fans spilt onto the pitch, causing the kick-off to be delayed by 45 minutes as police on horseback cleared spectators off of the playing surface. They famously did this with a white police horse called Billie – giving the game the nickname of The White Horse Final. However, when the match did start, Bolton beat West Ham 2-0 to lift their first-ever FA Cup title.
6. Portugal vs Brazil (Official Attendance: 127,000)
FIFA U-20 World Cup Final 1991 – Stadium of Light, Portugal
The final of the 1991 FIFA Youth Championship took place between Portugal and Brazil. The final was played at the Stadium of Light in Lisbon, Portugal. This was the highest soccer match attendance in Portugal. The stadium was absolutely jam-packed with people. The atmosphere was electric. The majority of the crowd were rooting for the home team Portugal. However, there were many Brazilian fans among them. The official attendance of the match was recorded to be 127,000.
The match was very entertaining and lived up to the expectations of the crowd. Both of the teams battled each other and the score was even after 90 minutes. Even after extra time, there was no winner. Thus, the match went to penalties and Brazil emerged as the victors. The score was 4-2 on penalties for Brazil.
5. Real Madrid vs Juventus (Official Attendance: 130,000)
European Club Champions Cup 1962 – Santiago Bernabeu, Spain
Whilst arch rivals Barcelona may have the bigger stadium at the moment, it’s Real Madrid who come out on top in terms of the highest football attendance. The official attendance during the match between Real Madrid and Juventus is the highest football attendance ever in Spain. This was the first visit of Juventus to the Santiago Bernabeu. The quarter finals of the European Cup took place on February 26, 1962.
The match between Real Madrid and Juventus was very close. Both the teams battled it out and at the end, they were just separated by one goal. Omar Sivori’s goal proved to be the difference as the Italians beat the Los Blancos 1-0. This match had the highest football stadium attendance in the Santiago Bernabeu.
4. East Bengal vs Mohun Bagan (Official Attendance: 134,000)
Federation Cup Semi-Final 1997 – Salt Lake Stadium, India
This is perhaps the most random attendance on this list and one that nobody could have expected. The 4th highest football attendance comes from India. Although it is hardly a hotbed for football, in 1997 an impressive 134,000 fans squeezed into Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata for the Federation Cup Semi-Final. The match was the highest attendance sporting event in the country, and also set the record for the highest attendance sporting event in Asia at the time.
The semi-final of the Federation Cup was the Kolkata Derby between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan. In the end, the match was easily won by East Bengal 4–1 courtesy of a hat-trick, first ever in the derby’s history, from Bhaichung Bhutia.
3. Benfica vs Porto (Official Attendance: 135,000)
Portuguese Primeira Liga 1987 – Estadio Da Luz, Portugal
The Portuguese Primeira match between Benfica and Porto is ranked 3rd in the list of highest football attendances ever. The old Estadio Da Luz was the venue for the largest ever sporting attendance in Portugal. It is also one of the most recent, with the impressive attendance being set just over 30 years ago. The 135,000 football attendance record was set in an “O Classico” encounter between Benfica and Porto. The hosts came out on top in a 3-1 victory. It was a result which set them up to win the Primeira Liga that season – with Benfica beating Porto to the title by 3 points.
This attendance number won’t be achieved again anytime soon. This is because the old Estadio da Luz is long gone now, knocked down and replaced by the new stadium opened in 2003. Whilst undoubtedly an impressive structure, the new stadium’s capacity is just a fraction of the old one – a mere 65,000.
2. Scotland vs England (Official Attendance: 149,415)
British Championship 1937 – Hampden Park, Scotland
The game between Scotland and England set the all time record for the highest football attendance in England as well as the highest football attendance in Europe ever. A fact made even more impressive as the game was effectively worthless. Wales has already won that year’s title meaning there was nothing at all riding on this match. However, the world record crowd of almost 150,000 were rewarded with an impressive display of football. Also, an estimated 50,000 England fans travelled north to watch the game. In the end, the home side came out victorious as Scotland beat England 3-1. It was an exciting game with several goals disallowed and the atmosphere was electric as well.
Tickets on the terraces sold for 2 shillings (around £5 in today’s money). Interest was perhaps heightened because it wasn’t broadcast on the radio due to a disagreement at the time between the Scottish FA and the BBC. Local reports show that 46 people fainted – which is an unusually small number for the size of the crowd and facilities at the time.
1. Brazil vs Uruguay (Official Attendance: 199,854)
FIFA World Cup Final 1950 – Estadio De Maracana, Brazil
The 1950 World Cup final sets the record for the highest football attendance ever. The largest-ever “official” attendance was in the Estadio De Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The stadium was just shy of 200,000 people as the fans watched Uruguay lift the 1950 FIFA World Cup trophy. The match set the record for the highest football match attendance. Moreover, the 1950 Word Cup also had the highest average football attendance until the 1994 World Cup in the USA. Uruguay ended up winning the game with the score at the final time is 2-1 to Uruguay. The Uruguayan striker Ghiggia scored the winning goal with just 11 minutes left to play.
An interesting fact is that Brazil was so confident of their victory, that they had already printed 22 gold medals inscribed with each player’s name. They even practised and recorded a winners’ song to be played at full-time. A local morning paper printed a picture of the Brazilian team with the caption “world champions”. The aftermath of Brazil’s defeat saw calls for them to change their kit from white (at the time) to the now famous yellow shirts with blue shorts. The 22 gold medals were never seen again and the victory song has never been performed.