CAPTION: At full capacity, some of the stadiums on this list count as small cities in their own right
Sport is a big business, so making sure you have enough seats for all your fans is a real concern for many top-flight sports teams and even countries. The largest sports stadiums in the world have the same populations as many smaller cities when they are at full capacity, hosting hundreds of thousands of screaming sports fans.
In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at some of the world’s largest sports stadiums.
Rungnado May Day Stadium – 114,000 seats
While it might come as a surprise, the world’s largest sports stadium is actually in one of the least accessible nations on earth. Opened on the 1st of May in 1989, the Rungnado May Day Stadium is located on Rungra Island, near Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea.
According to official documents, the capacity of the Rungnado May Day Stadium is supposed to be 150,000, but this is a slight exaggeration, with the true seating capacity being around 114,000.
The stadium takes up a stunning 51 acres and is most commonly used to host the Arirang Mass Games, a dance and gymnastics performance involving up to 100,000 dancers.
Salt Lake Stadium
More officially known as Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, the Salt Lake Stadium gets its colloquial name from its home in Sector III of Salt Lake City, Kolkata not to be confused with the possible host of the Winter Olympics, Salt Lake City in Utah
The stadium has recently been renovated to hold 120,000 people, up from a capacity of 85,000 when it opened in 1984.
The Salt Lake Stadium plays host to the Indian national football team and has also hosted a number of important international football matches, such as the 1986 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, the 3rd South Asian Games, and the Jawaharlal Nehru International Gold Cup.
The Michigan Stadium is unusual in the list, as it isn’t an Olympic venue or the permanent home of a professional sports team. Despite being the world’s 3rd largest sporting stadium, its actually on a college campus in the US and home of the Michigan Wolverines, a team of amateur student-athletes ranked one of the best teams competing in American NCAA college football.
Located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the so-called “Big House” has a capacity of 107,601 and was built in 1927 at the equivalent cost of $11.2 million.
Despite not having quite enough seats to hold everyone, a game between Michigan and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish pulled in a crowd of 115,109, setting the record for largest NCAA single-game attendance.
CAPTION: Some of the largest stadiums in the world actually belong to amateur college teams competing in the NCAA in America
With a total seating capacity of 106,572, when the Beaver Stadium is full, it actually represents the population of the 9th largest city in Pennsylvania. Home of the Penn State’s Nittany Lions Football team, the Beaver Stadium was originally constructed in 1909 and is the second-largest stadium in the Western Hemisphere, just behind Michigan Stadium.
You might think the name stemmed from an abundance of beavers in the local area, but it is, in fact, named after then former Pennsylvania state governor, James A. Beaver.
The Beaver Stadium actually holds the title of “the number-one football stadium in college football” thanks to a USA Today poll in 2016, and was recently crowned the “Ultimate Stadium” by the same publication after a similar poll in 2019.
One of the most well-known and iconic football stadiums in the world, the Estadio Azteca is the home of the football team Club América, the Mexico national football team, and was the first stadium to host two FIFA World Cup Finals.
It was also the venue where divisive football star Diego Maradona scored both his “Hand of God goal” and his “Goal of the Century.”
The Estadio Azteca has a total capacity of 87,523 and, despite being a fair bit smaller than others on this list, is still being used as a regular venue for high-level sporting competitions. It has also been tipped to host a game in the 2026 FIFA World Cup.