With fans starting to be welcomed back into sports stadia across the world, we’ve taken a look at the five biggest crowds to ever watch a sports event live in a stadium.
5) 134,000: Salt Lake Stadium – July 13, 1997
We start our list in India and focus on the 1997 Indian Federation Cup semi-final clash between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan.
East Bengal and Mohun Bagan squared off at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata, with the former earning a 4-1 victory.
There were 134,000 fans in attendance to watch the Kolkata rivals battle it out, and that remains a record for a sporting event in a stadium in India.
Supporters of the Red and Gold Brigade certainly weren’t left wanting as Bhaichung Bhutia, who would later go on to feature for Mohun Bagan, netted a hat-trick.
4) 135,000: Estadio da Luz – January 4, 1987
Another bitter rivalry brought the crowds out in vast numbers when Benfica and Porto stepped onto the field at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon, Portugal.
There was little to pick between the two Portuguese giants at the turn of the year, tied in first place, but Benfica edged clear after sealing a 3-1 triumph on home soil in front of 135,000.
Rui Aguas, who ended the campaign as Benfica’s top scorer, bagged a hat-trick to set the club off on a 16-game unbeaten run, and they finished three points clear of Porto to claim the title.
3) 149,415: Hampden Park – April 17, 1937
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, just 22,500 fans were in Wembley to watch England and Scotland play out a dull goalless draw at Euro 2020.
It was reminiscent of the first meeting between the two nations, which also ended 0-0 at Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow, in 1872.
England have won 48 of the 115 encounters to date, with Scotland picking up 41 victories and 26 finishing as a draw.
In April of 1937, Scotland beat the Auld Enemy, running out 3-1 winners at Hampden Park courtesy of a brace from Bob McPhail and a strike from Frank O’Donnell in the British Home Championship.
It garnered major interest, and there were officially 149,415 people in the stadium, although it’s claimed that number could be much higher with many getting into the ground without tickets.
2) 190,000: May Day Stadium – April 29, 1995
Football has unsurprisingly dominated this list so far, but it’s a wrestling event that comes in a number two.
North Korea’s Rungrado 1st of May Stadium hosted a two-day event, and 190,000 fans turned out to watch the action on day two.
Collision in Korea was broadcast around the globe as people tuned in to watch the Ric ‘Nature Boy’ Flair go toe-to-toe with Antonio Inoki in the headline act.
Former WWE star Flair described the experience as “extremely intimidating” and admitted he didn’t realise they had a “facility to hold that many people”.
1) 199,854: Maracana Stadium – June 16, 1950
South America has a history of being football mad, so it’s no surprise to see the largest ever attendance come from Brazil.
The famous Maracana Stadium was bursting at the seams when a world-record 199,854 people squeezed in to watch the World Cup final tie between hosts Brazil and Uruguay.
It was the fourth edition of the competition and the first since 1934 due to events in 1942 and 1946 being cancelled following the outbreak of World War II.
Fans were clearly eager to get their football fix, but it ended in disappointment for the host nation as Uruguay won 2-1.