World Football

Top 10 highest football attendance records of all time

Rajarshi Shukla

March 29 2023
highest attendance

The fans play a big role inside a stadium to boost their home team’s spirits.

Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona the average attendance for each of these top three football teams in Europe now are between 75,000 and 80,000. Stunning figures.

Yet compared to their earlier predecessors, today’s ultramodern, ultrasafe, and some would even argue ultra-expensive stadiums have one key advantage: capacity. Football stadium seating was widely used, which reduced the number of spectators who could actually attend games, although now there is more safety in stadiums below are the top 10 matches that recorded the highest attendance.

10. Mexico vs Brazil (Official Attendance: 110,000)

The ninth-highest football match crowd number in the sport’s entire history was at the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup Final. Mexico and Brazil competed in the game to determine the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup champions. There were 110,000 people in attendance according to records. On August 4, 1999, the game took place at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.

Mexico won the game 4-3, establishing themselves as the first CONCACAF team to prevail in a tournament and capturing their first major trophy in history.

9. Manchester United v Real Madrid: 109,318

The most recent record-breaking crowd size was set on August 2, 2014, during a match between Man United and Real Madrid for the International Champions Cup in America.

Man Utd won the match 3-1 in front of a sell-out crowd of 109,318 at Michigan Stadium at the University of Michigan.

The old record of 101,799 has been surpassed, setting a new record for football (soccer) attendance in the United States. This was established during the 1984 Olympic Football Final between France and Brazil in the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles. France won 2-0. It’s interesting to note that the record was surpassed twice in a 24-hour period because the third-place play-off matches the day prior received (at the time) a mark of 100,374.

8. Real Madrid v AC Milan, European Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg, 1956: 129,690

Real Madrid tops the list for the biggest attendance even though archrival Barcelona now has the larger stadium.

A little under 130,000 people watched Real Madrid play Italian powerhouse AC Milan in the European Cup Semifinal in 1956, breaking the previous record for the Bernabeu. Real, which had fallen behind 2-1 after the first leg, prevailed 4-2 on the night and 5-4 overall. Madrid went on to defeat French team Reims 4-3 in the championship game to win an unprecedented fifth straight European Cup.

7. East Bengal v Mohun Bagan, Federation Cup Semi-Final, 1997: 134,000

In this ranking, India may have the most bizarre attendance. Although Kolkata is hardly even a football hotspot, a remarkable 134,000 fans packed Salt Lake Stadium in 1997 to watch the Federation Cup Semi-Final.

East Bengal defeated Mohun Bagan 4-1 in front of the highest sporting audience ever recorded in India, surpassing even cricket matches. A week later, East Bengal was defeated in the championship game.

6. Benfica v Porto, Portuguese Primeira Liga, 1987: 135,000

The biggest attendance event ever held in Portugal was held in the former Stadium da Luz. Given that the record-breaking attendance was set less than 30 years ago, it is also one of the most recent on our list.

The 135,000 mark was established in “O Classico” action between Benfica and Porto, with the home team winning 3-1. This outcome gave them the best chance to win the Primeira Liga that year, with Benfica edging Porto by three points.

5. Celtic v Leeds, European Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg, 1970: 136,505

The record for the biggest club crowd in Europe, as well as the biggest crowd ever seen at a UEFA competition, belongs to Hampden Park.

The scene was the second leg of the 1970 European Cup Semifinal between Celtic and Leeds. The initial plan was for the game to be played at Celtic Park, however, there was far more demand for tickets than there were seats available for there. The game was consequently shifted to the much bigger Hampden Park. Leeds received a 10,000 allocation as the visiting team, of which approximately half were sold and the remaining half was given back to Celtic.

4. Scotland v England, Home International Championship, 1937: 149,547

Even while the 1970 crowd was remarkable, it fell short of the all-time high at Hampden by approximately 13,000 people. The previous record was achieved in 1937 when over 150,000 spectators watched Scotland play England in a Home International National title game.

Even while the 1970 crowd was remarkable, it fell short of the all-time high at Hampden by approximately 13,000 people. The previous record was achieved in 1937 when over 150,000 spectators watched Scotland play England in a Home International National title game.

Football attendance figures for the United Kingdom and Europe still apply to this game. Given that the game was essentially worthless, this fact is all the more impressive. Nothing was at stake in this match because Wales had already won the championship that year. Nonetheless, it is believed that 50,000 England supporters travelled north in vain since Scotland won 3-1.

3. Celtic v Aberdeen, Scottish Cup Final, 1937: 147,365

A staggering 147,365 people jammed into Hampden for the Scottish Cup Final, which featured Celtic vs. Aberdeen, only one week after the Scotland vs. England match.

The greatest-ever turnouts for both a home European game and a National Cup Final across the globe were recorded by this game, which also set two new marks for Hampden Park.

Moreover, 30,000 spectators who were kept away from the stadium missed the game. Celtic, the only side to be a part of two of these record attendances, won the game 2-1.

2. Brazil v Uruguay, World Cup Final, 1950: 199,854

The Maracana arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, hosted the largest-ever “official” crowd in 1950 when Uruguay won the World Cup in front of slightly under 200,000 spectators.

Brazil’s defeat prompted demands for them to switch from their then-current white uniform to the now-famous yellow jerseys and blue shorts. The triumph hymn has never been played, and the 22 gold medals have never been seen again.

1. Bolton Wanderers v West Ham United, FA Cup Final, 1923: 126,047

Naturally, the old Wembley Arena had the largest football crowd England has ever seen. The 1923 FA Cup final between Bolton and West Ham was, in reality, the very first game played at the original Wembley.

The official turnout was 126,047, but many more admirers entered, and there are unconfirmed rumours that the number of attendees may have reached 300,000. Three hundred thousand is not a typo — picture the line for the Underground at rush hour!

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