Soccer may be the world’s most popular sport by a long ways, but when it comes to which sport is most played in the world’s largest stadiums, American football is the answer. Surprisingly, it’s not the NFL that is home to eight of the world’s 10 stadiums that have capacities exceeding 100,000. It’s college football.
The one exception in the top nine is North Korea’s Rungrado 1st of May Stadium, which tops the list with an official capacity of 150,000 although StadiumDB.com has estimated its true capacity at 114,000. However, the lower figure still ranks it first worldwide. Although its most famous use is for the Arirang Festival, soccer and track and field events take place here too.
The world’s second-largest stadium is Michigan Stadium, the home of the Michigan Wolverines. The team regularly sells it out and then some. Although its listed capacity is 107,601, the smallest crowd that it had in the 2017 season was the 111,090 who cheered the Wolverines on to a 33-10 win over Minnesota on Nov. 4.
The rest of the top 10 consists of:
- Beaver Stadium (University Park, Pa.)
- Ohio Stadium (Columbus, Ohio)
- Kyle Field (College Station, Texas)
- Neyland Stadium (Knoxville, Tenn.)
- Tiger Stadium (Baton Rouge, La.)
- Bryant-Denny Stadium (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)
- Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium (Austin, Texas)
- Melbourne Cricket Ground (Melbourne, Australia)
The college football stadiums that are in positions two, three and four are home to schools that play in the Big Ten Conference in or near the Midwest (Michigan, Penn State and Ohio State). The next four on the list are members of the Southeastern Conference and play in the South (Texas A&M, Tennessee, LSU and Alabama) while No. 9 Texas is a Southern team that plays in the Big 12 Conference.
The Melbourne Cricket Ground, the last of the stadiums with a six-figure capacity, regularly plays host to Australian rules football, rugby and soccer games as well as cricket matches.