20 May The World’s Highest Capacity Stadiums
No matter where you are in the world, sport plays a vital role in bringing people together. At the top level, it can be big business as well.
In 2018 the global sports market was valued at a whopping $471 billion, an increase of around $150 billion in 2011. Over the next decade its popularity is projected to grow further as well. This increased demand has unsurprisingly led to investment in sports stadiums. It is no good having thousands of fans if you cannot fit them in your arena.
Across the world some truly remarkable stadiums have been constructed in recent years. Here are the very biggest.
North Korean Rungrado May Day
Located in Pyongyang, North Korea, the Rungrado May Day Stadium was the biggest sporting arena in the world, prior to its renovations in 2014.
Boasting an official eye-watering capacity of 114,000 its record attendance is considerably higher than this. The Collision in Korea wrestling event, which pitted Ric Flair against Antonio Inoki in the main event, attracted either 150,000 or 190,000 spectators – depending on which local records you consult.
Construction on the incredible stadium began in 1986, after Seoul was selected as the host city for the 1988 Summer Olympics. Not wanting to be outdone by their neighbors, the North Korean government ordered an even bigger stadium to be built and just one and half years later the Rungrado May Day Stadium was ready.
Its roof is its most stunning feature. It is made to look like a magnolia flower, winning first prize during the 1988 International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva for its innovation.
Currently the arena is principally used for the Arirang Festival – an annual showcase of gymnastics and art in tribute to the North Korean regime. However, it is also utilised for several sporting events over the course of year.
Narendra Modi Stadium
India took North Korea’s crown for possessing the largest stadium in the world in 2020 when it finally completed its ambitious revamp of the Narendra Modi Stadium. Prior to the work, the arena has a capacity of just 54,000. Now though, it can host as many as 132,000 spectators.
The increase in seats is not the only improvement either. The stadium now has three entrances, all of which are serviced by a metro station. There are also many other modern facilities, including a swimming pool, plenty of hospitality boxes and an indoor cricket training center – to name but a few.
Located in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, it hosted its maiden Test between India and England in February. For those who wish to bet online for India, The Cricket World Cup may be long way off, however current odds have India are favorites to win, with their odds coming in at 3.40/1, in comparison to England’s odds of 4.00/1.
No one does massive stadiums quite like the United States. Across the country, large capacity college football and NFL stadiums are common.
One of the most impressive arenas of all is the Michigan Stadium. First opened all the way back in 1927 it has been subject to many renovations down the years. The most recent work, completed in 2015 set its attendance at 107,601.
It is currently home to the Michigan Wolverines football team with their games against Notre Dame drawing particularly big crowds to the ‘Big House’.
The brilliantly named Beaver Stadium is located in State College, Pennsylvania. Like many other stadiums used for US college sports, its capacity has been steadily expanded as demand has increased.
It can now host an incredible 106,572 spectators. Home to the Penn State Nittany Lions, who compete in the NCAA, the team regularly attracts 100,000+ crowds to their games. The stadium is also known for the ‘tailgate’ parties it hosts before fixtures.
Melbourne Cricket Ground
The Melbourne Cricket Ground, commonly abbreviated to the MCG, boasts a capacity of over 100,000. As its name suggests, its main tenant is the Australian cricket team.
The Baggy Greens have enjoyed many memorable moments at their spiritual home with the Boxing Day Test always being a standout.
It is not just cricket that is played at the stadium, though. Aussie rules football is frequently enjoyed at the MCG, with no less than six teams calling the arena home at the start of the 2020/2021 season.
Few soccer (or football, depending on who is reading) stadiums are more iconic than Camp Nou. Constructed between 1954 and 1957, it has been home to FC Barcelona ever since.
Officially the bowl-like arena – which does not have a roof – can hold just shy of 100,000 people. However, in the past many more have crammed into the stadium. The record attendance was around 120,000 for the European Cup quarter-final against Juventus in 1986.
When games are not being played at Camp Nou, tourists flock there to undertake guided tours, such is its history and mystique.
It is widely believed that the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg was constructed specifically for use at the 2010 World Cup, which was held in South Africa.
In reality, the stadium was in fact first opened in 1989, though the renovations performed in the lead up to the tournament made it unrecognizable. The arena was constructed to resemble an African cooking pot from the outside and it was given the nickname Soccer City when the competition kicked off. It can hold just short of 95,000 people.