First Touch

Sports Events Through History

Spectators make sporting events come alive. That is why we have made a list of the highest attendance in single sports events from the 20th century.

Historical Sports Events with Record Audiences

In modern day sports, combined viewership is much higher than it used to be thanks to televised events and live streaming. Many esports like CS:GO tournaments draw in huge droves of spectators thanks to streaming platforms. Players can even play CSGO coin flip and other games like CSGO roulette and crash, whilst they watch their favourite teams and players.

There is absolutely no denying that life is brought to sporting events by spectators, either by cheering, singing or by the reactions to the things that happen in the field.

Just as we are witnessing it currently because of the health crisis, no sporting event remains the same when there are no spectators in the stadium. Below is a list of the single day events with the highest attendance since the 20th century.

Maracanã stadium, Brazil – 16th June, 1950

There have been a lot of events with very huge crowds in Brazil’s Maracana Stadium. As a nation that is crazy about football, Brazil experiences the highest attendance in big football games. The famous Maracana Stadium witnessed a record 199,854 spectators in a world cup final encounter between the host nation and Uruguay on the 16th of June 1950.

Up till today, this stands as the official record for the highest attendance witnessed in any sporting event that took place in an enclosed venue. By the end of the match, European won by 2-1

May Day Stadium,Pyongyang, North Korea – 29th April 1995

The Rungnado May Day Stadium in the South Korean city of Pyongyang witnessed an amazing crowd on the 29th of April 1995. It was the 2nd day of the 2-day professional wrestling event, and a crowd of 190,000 people graced the event where the World Championship Wrestling owned by Ted Turner and the New Japan Pro Wrestling collaborated to present the highest pay per view in the history of professional wrestling. 

The major act of the event of that day was Ric Flair, aka “Nature Boy”.

Kentucky Derby – May 2012

In May 2012, the Kentucky Derby made record with the number of spectators in attendance. It garnered up to 165,000 people, a record that no horse racing event has ever matched, both before and after.

Scotland vs. England, Hampden Park – 17th April 1937

The United Kingdom may be made up of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, but when it comes to football, they pursue different ambitions.

That is why the football rivalry between Scotland and England has been so fierce that on the 17th of April 1937, the football game that brought the duo together at the Hampden Park had one of the highest spectator sizes in the world of sporting events. It actually garnered 149,415 people officially, with the unofficial figure said to be much more, since many people came to the stadium without tickets. The game ended 3-1 in favor of Scotland.

SL Benfica vs FC Porto, Estádio da Luz – 4th January 1987

These two clubs in Lisbon are also arch rivals when it comes to football games, and this was revealed in their January 1987 football match and the type of audience it pulled. At the match that took place in the Estadio Da Luz stadium, Portugal had 135,000 fans, and it ended 3-1 in favor of Benfica.

East Bengal vs. Mohun Bagan, Salt Lake Stadium – 13th July, 1997

The semifinal of the federation cup between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan in India took place on the 13th of July 1997. This event that happened at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata, garnered up to 134,000 people.

Of course, the rivalry between these two Kolkata clubs is not hidden, and to make matters more serious, the game was supposed to determine who progresses to the final of the cup. At the end of the day, it made a record as the sporting event with the largest crowd in the entire India, and East Bengal came out victorious with 4-1.

FA Cup Final

Bolton Wanderers vs West Ham United, Wembley – 28th April 1923

The highest attendance in any sports event in England is 126,047. This happened at the Old Wembley Stadium, in a game between Bolton Wanderers and West Ham United on the 28th of April 1923. The game in question was the final of the famous FA Cup, which is the number one in the English primary cup competitions.

This game happened immediately the Wembley Stadium was opened, as the first match that the stadium hosted. The game had King George V in attendance, as he was to present the trophy to the winning team. Many people regarded it as the White Horse Final, and in commemoration of it, the White Horse Bridge at the New Wembley Stadium was named so. The game ended in favor of Bolton Wanderers.

Real Madrid CF vs. ACF Fiorentina, Santiago Bernabéu – 30th May 1957

A football match between the Spanish Real Madrid FC and the Italian Fiorentina at the Santiago Bernabeu in Spain commanded a crowd of up to 124,000 on the 30th of May 1957. The game in question was a European Cup Final, and it ended in favor of Real Madrid, as they defeated Fiorentina on their home ground.

Carlton vs. Collingwood, MCG – On 26th September, 1970

One of the biggest sporting events in Australia is Rugby, and Collingwood and Carlton have been rivals in Rugby for a very long time. On the 26th of October 1970 however, they had the chance to showcase this bitter rivalry in the grand final of the Australian Rules football game, and the game commanded a crowd of 121,696 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). At the end of the game, Carlton came out on top with an emphatic victory.

Army vs. Notre Dame, Yankees Stadium – 1928

The Notre Dame – army football rivalry has been there for a long time in the American football league, involving the Army Black Knights of the United States Military Academy and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Football Team of the University of Notre Dame.

The rivalry has been there since 1913, when the two teams stood among the top college football programs in the entire US. The game had up to 120, 000 people in attendance in 1928, and it happened at the Yankees Stadium in the United States of America, with Notre Dame winning the game.

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