There have been some very large crowds of spectators watching sporting events. Below are some of the largest known sporting crowds. At the moment I have just collected information about huge crowds at sporting events, which are now being checked. More suggestions and other crowds numbers are coming in (see comments below).
It is often difficult to record actual crowd numbers for very large events, particularly if there are not contained in a single stadium where tickets can be sold and entry monitored. Sporting events such as the Tour de France are able to have a lot more in attendance than in a stadium, though counting spectators is very difficult. Later I will be dividing these crowd figures into those attending an enclosed stadium compared to trackside events such as cycling road races, horse racing and motor sports. Please let me know if you have information to add.
Ordered list of top world sporting crowds
Here are some of the largest sporting crowds reported. At the moment I have just collected information about huge crowds at sporting events, not all numbers have been confirmed (and may never will be) as counting millions of spectators is not that easy.
- The Tour de France cycle race - the number of spectators at recent events is estimated to be 12 to 15 million. Many other cycle races and similar events will have a huge number of spectators. This number is the aggregate number of spectators over the whole three week event, but still phenomenal numbers.
- Between 1900-1940 the crowd for Derby Day at Epsom Downs regularly exceeded 300,000. Estimates of 500,000 in 1913 and 1934!
- The Indianapolis 500 has an estimated crowd of 400,000 attend. They also report big crowds at the Daytona 500 and Le Mans events.
- I also found a reference to more than 300,000 people at an event in Circus Maximus (Rome) a few years BC. (unconfirmed!)
- Maracana stadium in Brazil had a record attendance of 199,854 for the Brazil vs. Uruguay match in the World Cup Final on the 16th June, 1950. This is the biggest attendance at a sporting event held in an enclosed stadium. The crowd number is an unofficial number - the official crowd (people who paid tickets) that day was 173,850. Due to its large capacity, Maracana stadium has many more reported sporting events with large attendance figures.
- 190,000 attended the 2nd day of a 2-day Pro Wrestling event at the May Day Stadium on the 29th of April 1995. The headline act was "Nature Boy" Ric Flair.
- In Feb 2008, 170,802 fans were in attendance at the FBR Open Golf Tournament in Scotsdale, Arizona (U.S. PGA Tour). It is thought to be the largest crowd ever to witness a single day sports event (where the event is held within the confines of a private piece of real estate) - as opposed to millions of people watching a moving sports event such as The Tour De France or the Olympic Marathon.
- The highest-attended to a Kentucky Derby came in 2015, when 170,513 people packed Churchill Downs.
- American college football game, dubbed The Battle at Bristol, was played at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee on September 10, 2016, between the University of Tennessee Volunteers and the Virginia Tech Hokies. It holds the record for NCAA football's largest single-game attendance at 156,990.
- At a Scotland v England match 17th April 1937 at Hampden Park, there was officially 149,415 spectators. Sources say that there were more, considering there were a lot of people in the stadium without tickets.
- 135,000 - Portugal, da Luz, 04.01.1987, SL Benfica-FC Porto, football.
- 134,000 - 1997 Federation Cup Semi-Final between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan holds the record for the largest audience for a Indian football match. The match, played on 13th July 1997 at Salt Lake Stadium, drew 134,000 spectators. This is a record attendance for any sport in India.
- The highest attendance at a sporting event in England was 126,047 at the original Wembley Stadium, 28th April 1923, at a football match between Bolton Wanderers FC and West Ham United FC. Apparentaly they closed the gates around 126,000 because the stadium only held 127,000. The crowd outside then climbed over the gates and flooded onto the field. The game was delayed until everyone moved outside the touch lines and they could actually play. 126,047 is the "official" number, but the crowd was easily twice that size. Some estimates have it as large as 300,000.
- 124,000 attended Estádio Santiago Bernabéu in Spain on 30.05.1957, for a football game between Real Madrid CF-ACF Fiorentina.
- The MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground), Australia had 121,696 for the 1970 Australian Rules Football grand final in 1970 between Carlton and Collingwood.
- The unofficial record for a game in the USA is approximately 120,000 to see a Notre Dame/ Army game in 1928. The same estimated crowd also saw the Notre Dame v USC football game in Soldier Field, Chicago in 1927. That occurred prior to the north end of the stadium being removed, leaving the stands in a horseshoe configuration which it kept until the renovation in 2002.
- The largest crowd to ever watch a Super Bowl live was at Super Bowl XIV – 103,985 attended the 1980 Super Bowl held at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
- The data has mostly been taken from online forums and databases. Not all figures are confirmed - do your own research if it matters.
- List of the domestic professional league crowds
- Other world sport lists
Commenting is generally closed on this page, though you can read some previous comments below which you may find interesting and may answer some of your questions.
- The US Open Tennis Tournament, held annually, has 750,000 in attendance. (Marcel Blanc, Mar 2023)
- 142,000 Formula 1 fans were at Silverstone on Sunday to witness Carlos Sainz secure his maiden victory in the 2022 British Grand Prix (July 3, 2022). The total attendance over the three days of the British Grand Prix weekend was 401,000 (Charlie Cumming, Aug 2022. ref: www.f1destinations.com)
- I have just got back from the second day of the Tour de France in Yorkshire, counting up our immediate roadside and looking at today's pictures to show we were on the light side then I guess probable a million and a half. Is this a record for a one day sporting event. DTip (2014)
- Take a breath and do the maths. The Tour course is about 2500km. That's 5m metres of 'footpath', left and right. The figure of '15m' spectators requires 3 per metre every inch of the way, as it were. Sure on the top of big mountains and at the big departs and finishes the crowds swell. But which the kilometre after kilometre of sparse and nil crowds in the flat stages. And smell the PR nonsense. Also the number of apparent spectators includes many who return each day, following by bike or campervan. Graeme DTip (2015)
- Celtic v Aberdeen at Hampden on 24 April 1937. The 147,365 attendance is the largest ever for a domestic match in Europe. Scott Taylor (2017)
- Yip and Celtic spawned a 2-1 win to win their 15th Scottish cup at that time....and like the Scotland v England game they reckon there was a lot more actually there , as many got in without tickets. Talorc MacAllan Scott Taylor (2019)
- 150,000-200,000 at Badminton Horse Trials, UK. Sumarumi (2013)
- Largest outdoor sporting event in the United States for one day, at one place was in Milwaukee WI. 135,000 people attended the middleweight championship fight between Tony Zale and Billy Pryor refereed by the great heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey. Frederick Pabst underwrote the entire event. Prior to that, the Dempsey-Tunney fight had the largest attendance of 120,000. Clare (2020)
- Have you seen the crowd at the Chicago Marathon? (Jesus, 2020)
- I believe that the crowd for the last day of the last F1 Grand Prix in Adelaide, Australia was about 210,000, This would be in 1995. John (2020)
- Attendance for the 2011 Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo was 2,262,834. It'll be more this year. I'll give those Tour de France folks credit for throwing a good party, but the resta y'all couldn't milk our cows. Ron Lewis (2020)
- A new golf attendance record was made in 2013 at TPC Scottsdale, Scottsdale Az. with an official 179,022 for the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Donald (2020)
- Pro wrestling is not a sport and shouldn't be included in this list; entertainment only category is where it belongs. Lee Paxton (2020)
- A note about that 1923 football match in England: This was the first game played at the original Wembley Stadium, and they didn't assign tickets because they didn't think that many people would show up. They closed the gates around 126,000 because the stadium only held 127,000. The crowd outside then climbed over the gates and flooded onto the field. The game was delayed until everyone moved outside the touch lines and they could actually play. 126,047 is the "official" number, but the crowd was easily twice that size. Some estimates have it as large as 300,000. That's just a brief summary. If you want to find out more, look up "White Horse Final" or "1923 FA Cup Final" Bryce Goller (2020)
- Estimated 2.5 million spectators at NYC Marathon. Shane (2018)
- Somewhat late to the discussion but have to add the Boat Race, Cambridge v Oxford easily sees 250'000 on the banks of the Thames to watch. Reckon the number will be higher on sunny days. Munro Malcolm Gow (2018)
- 260,000 Attended this past Saturday's phoenix open in Scottsdale. They hold a single day record for sports – and they had 700,000 for a four day event. They crushed the records. Mia (2017)
- The Battle at Bristol (2016) was an American college football game between Virginia Tech and Tennessee that got 156,000 in attendance. Should add that one. Jake (2017)
- What about Sri lanka vs India semi final of 1996 cricket world cup ? Dhanuka (2016) - ed. There was an estimated 110,000 at the ground that day
- The Notre Dame v USC 1927 football game in Soldier Field, Chicago was estimated to have a crowd of 120,000. That occurred prior to the north end of the stadium being removed, leaving the stands in horseshoe configuration which it kept until the renovation at the millennia. Art Malm (2016)
- Perhaps someone should check out the official attendance at the 1996 Australian F1 Grand Prix in Adelaide as I believe it was 205,000 on race day. The total would have been double that for the full three days. Peter Maslen (2016)
- There was 146,000 at the Celtic v Aberdeen cup final at Hampden in 1937.There were 137,000 at a Celtic v Leeds European cup semi- final match in 1970.There were 127,000 for Real Madrid v Frankfurt in 1960 for the European cup final. For a cup tie there were 143,000 for Celtic v Hibernian. All played at Hampden Park GLASGOW!!! (all record attendances) In 1937 the 3 biggest football stadiums in the world were all in Glasgow which only had a population of one million at the time. James Macaulay (2016)
- And even more at the 1931 Harmsworth- from the Detroit News- " In 1931, Miss America IX became the first boat to reach 100 mph, topping out at 102.256 mph. That year saw the most dramatic of all the Harmsworth races, with England's Kaye Don the chief opponent, his Miss England II powered by a Rolls-Royce motor from the British Air Ministry. Police estimated that a million fans lined the Detroit River to watch the races. Kaye Don got a better start in the first heat and beat Wood, who couldn't pass Miss England's wake. The hometown crowd was shocked. Wood had always seemed unbeatable." Camphoneguy (2015)
- Hmmm.... going back in history- Time Magazine said of the 1920 Harmsworth Trophy race: "Many a race between shadowy contraband-carrying rumrunners and swift, searchlight playing patrol boats has been run on the narrow Detroit river. Last week 400,000 persons lined the river's edge to watch millionaires race millionaires." Camphoneguy (2015)
- The 2015 Phoenix Open (largest) PGA tournament had a weekly attendance of 564,368 "paying" spectators ... which is pretty good considering they had rain with thunder clouds on one day and the Super Bowl on the last day. Lex (2014)
- Bradford rugby league had a massive crowd of 130000 or there abouts years ago. Raider (2014)
- I heard there were about six million at Pope Francis Holy Mass celebration in Philippines earlier this week .Wow. Pmbharath.pb (2014)
- Oslo 1952 Olympic ski jumping 104 000+ paying spectators.wich was maximum 60% of the total crowd. Fredrik (2014)
- I was hoping for more 'historical' figures or references, e.g.: those lined along the Thames/Isis for the Henley Regatta; the enormous Hippodrome crowds of 6th century Byzantium (a six-figure crowd was allegedly killed in a post-chariot race riot); and figures for earlier American events (fav: 40,000 for the Yale-Princeton game of 1893). Phil (2014)
- About 130,000 - 150,000 people go to the "Spain Motorcycling Grand Prix" in Jerez de la Frontera every year, and that's just the day of the races, Sunday. It's officially known that the attendance throughout the weekend is over 200,000. It's not even mentioned in this article. Fran (2014)
- I'm really not believing that the Olympics doesn't even rank on this list. TBird (2013)
- The Battle at Bristol between Virginia Tech and Tennessee will be held at Bristol Motor Speedway Sept 10, 2016. The expected attendance is 150,000. Ditzleg (2013)
- I see the list is just started, a few suggestions: Olympics, Cricket World Cup and World Cup Soccer in the non annual categories. TDF is the largest annual event. Moonpie (2013)
- The National Hockey League which is in danger of having no season in 2012-13 due to a labor argument and draws the biggest crowd of the inside activities. I must say that two activities that have seen improves in average presence year-on-year are Major League Baseball and the Canadian Football League. Andy Kards (2013)
- The total prize money for the World Baseball Classic (WBC) tournament standing at $14 million, and individual players in the United States earning as much as $33 million in a year. Andy Kards (2013)