Biggest Stadiums in The World By Capacity

By Victoria Simpson on September 23 2020 in World Facts

Image credit: EFKS/Shutterstock
Image credit: EFKS/Shutterstock
  • The biggest stadiums in the world are located in North Korea, India, and the US, in descending order of capacity.
  • The world's biggest stadium is home to North Korea's Mass Games, a spectacle of gymnastics and socialist values.
  • Most of the five largest stadiums in the US host football teams, with the exception of Tiger Stadium in Louisiana, which is home to baseball.

Stadiums. The word may bring to mind the incessant, thundering roar of crowds packed elbow-to-elbow in adrenaline-filled arenas. Or, maybe it floods you with memories of your favorite sports team battling until the end on the field, or unforgettable concerts that seemed to embody true moments of magic. In a way, stadiums really are magical. They bring people together in a way that no other form of architecture really does. 

But where do they come from? The word “stadium” refers to an ancient Greek unit of length of about 607 feet (185 meters). The Greeks built the first known large arenas for the purpose of watching footraces. These structures surrounded U-shaped tracks that onlookers watched with anticipation from the stands. The Colosseum in Rome, one of the world’s most famous stadiums, was constructed in 80 AD, a considerable time after Greece’s originals.

Today, the biggest stadiums in the world are found far from Europe. Instead, they are located in North Korea, India, and the US.

Rungrado 1st of May Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea. Image credit: Karsten Jung/Shutterstock

Rungrado 1st of May Stadium  

Capacity: 114,000

Pyongyang, North Korea

Also referred to as May Day Stadium, this massive arena in North Korea’s capital city was first opened in 1989 on May 1st, marking the annual celebration of International Workers’ Day in this secluded communist nation. Rungrado May Day Stadium has eight levels and spans an area of about 20.7 hectares (51 acres). Its principal use is to host the country’s enormous Arirang Mass Games. These games are a communist spectacle of acrobatics, dance, and gymnastics that has involved up to 100,000 participants. Some say it is the largest performance done by humans on Earth, although this could be debated. 

The Mass Games are typically used to communicate and reinforce North Korea’s strict system of values. They are said to have been put on hold following the opening performance in 2019, as reports indicate organizers were not properly conveying the message leader and dictator Kim Jong-Un wanted them to.  

North Korea’s May Day stadium is also home to other athletic events and sporting matches. 

Cricket is the most popular game in India, and the country boasts the world's largest cricket stadium. Image credit: Stefano Ember/Shutterstock

Motera Stadium  

Capacity: 110,000

Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India

Motera Stadium in India was opened in February 2020, and is now the largest cricket stadium in the world, a distinction that is a source of pride for Indians. It was built on the same spot as its predecessor, the Sardar Patel Stadium, which was demolished to make way for a newer, larger stadium that doubles its capacity. The Motera stadium boasts an indoor cricket academy, an Olympic-sized swimming pool and more. 

The British first brought cricket to India in the 1700s. Since then, it has grown to be India’s most popular sport, with millions of fans. 

Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Image credit: Susan Montgomery/Shutterstock

Michigan Stadium   

Capacity: 107,601  

Ann Arbor, Michigan, US

Known to sports lovers as “The Big House,” Michigan Stadium is an iconic athletic field. It is home to the University of Michigan’s Wolverines football team. As the largest stadium in the country, and among the biggest in the world, it has hosted crowds of over 115,000, though its seating capacity is 107,601. This famous venue has also hosted soccer’s International Champions Cup (ICC), NHL hockey games, and other entertaining events. 

First built to house just 72,000 fans in 1927 for $950,000 USD, Michigan Stadium has been expanded numerous times to reach its present capacity. Its most recent renovation began in 2007, and lasted three football seasons. 

Biggest Stadiums in the US

While the US has just one stadium in the global top three, this country is actually home to a majority of the world’s biggest sporting and entertainment venues. Need proof? Americans can claim 15 of the 25 biggest stadiums in the world. These include Beaver Stadium in Pennsylvania, Ohio Stadium, Kyle Field in Texas, Neyland Stadium in Tennessee, and Tiger Stadium in Louisiana. Of these top five, four are football stadiums, and one, Tiger Stadium, is reserved for baseball. 

American football and baseball are the two most widely popular professional sports in the US, leading the way for immense venues that allow for thousands of viewers to witness the games in person. Football’s large playing field makes it easier to accommodate viewers in person, compared with a game such as basketball, which is played over a much smaller surface area. 

Not everyone can get a ticket to the game, however. In 2019, it is estimated that about 98.2 million people watched the Super Bowl, football's championship game, on TV, in addition to those in the stands. 

Stadiums have a way of embracing the supportive spirit of athletic fans and the general public in real-time, both uniting and dividing us. With an ancient history and a strong ability to entertain the masses, stadiums are sure to be with us far into the future. 

Biggest Stadiums in The World By Capacity

RankStadiumCapacityLocation
1Rungrado 1st of May Stadium114,000Pyongyang, North Korea
2Motera Stadium110,000Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
3Michigan Stadium107,601Ann Arbor, Michigan, US
4Beaver Stadium106,572State College, Pennsylvania, US
5Ohio Stadium102,780Columbus, Ohio, US
6Kyle Field102,733College Station, Texas, US
7Neyland Stadium102,455Knoxville, Tennessee, US
8Tiger Stadium102,321Baton Rouge, Louisiana, US
9Bryant–Denny Stadium101,821Tuscaloosa, Alabama, US
10Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium100,119Austin, Texas, US
11Melbourne Cricket Ground100,024Melbourne, Australia
12Camp Nou99,354Barcelona, Spain
13FNB Stadium94,736Johannesburg, South Africa
14Sanford Stadium92,746Athens, Georgia, US
15Cotton Bowl Stadium92,100Dallas, Texas, US
16Rose Bowl90,888Pasadena, California, US
17Wembley Stadium90,000London, United Kingdom
18Ben Hill Griffin Stadium88,548Gainesville, Florida, US
19Jordan–Hare Stadium87,451Auburn, Alabama, US
20Bukit Jalil National Stadium87,411Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
21Estadio Azteca87,000Mexico City, Mexico
22Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium86,112Norman, Oklahoma, US
23Memorial Stadium86,047Lincoln, Nebraska, US
24Borg El Arab Stadium86,000Alexandria, Egypt
25Salt Lake Stadium85,000Kolkata, India

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