The FIFA World Cup is one of the most attended sporting events in the world. Fans from across the globe wait for the quadrennial event with eagerness and anticipation.
Every edition witnesses a mad rush for tickets and there is hardly any match that does not have a full house crowd. The excitement about the upcoming 2022 World Cup has already gone through the roof. The first phase of ticket sales of the 2022 World Cup had seen FIFA sell around 800000 tickets. Indians were among fans who applied for most tickets, seventh among the top countries.
The 1994 FIFA World Cup which was hosted by the USA recorded the maximum footfall so far with over 3.5 million tickets sold. The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, played host to the World Cup final in 1994, as Brazil edged out Italy on penalties. It was one of the highest attended matches in FIFA World Cup history.
All the stadiums were gigantic structures of steel and concrete that could host over 50,000 fans. The Rose Bowl had a maximum capacity of 94,194 fans while the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in Washington had the least with 53,000. Eight matches were hosted by the Rose Bowl which lent a major hand in pushing the cumulative attendance over the roof. The Giants Stadium (76,322) near New York hosted the second most number of games (seven) including a semi-final which was another mammoth arena.
The 2014 World Cup in Brazil remains the second-most attended edition. 12 venues (seven new and five renovated) in twelve cities were selected for the tournament. There were also 32 official FIFA Fan Fest locations where supporters who could not avail match tickets watched the games.
The most used stadiums were the Maracana and Brasilia, which hosted seven matches each. They were the two biggest stadiums with 74,738 and 69,432 capacity respectively. The least-used venues were in Cuiabá, Manaus, Natal, and Curitiba, which hosted four matches each; and were the four smallest stadiums with around 40,000 capacity.
The 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be hosted across eight venues in five cities. It will be a compact World Cup as the maximum distance between two cities will be 70km. The Lusail Iconic Stadium and the Al Bayt are the two biggest arenas that can host 80,000 and 60,000 fans respectively. The World Cup final will be played at the Lusail on December 18 along with nine other fixtures. Whereas, Al Bayt will host nine matches including the opening game and a semi-final.
In 2026, the marquee event will return to USA and 11 venues have already been decided including billion-dollar structures such as AT&T Stadium and Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Meanwhile, Mexico will have three host stadiums including the iconic Azteca Stadium which remains the only stadium to host more than one lakh spectators during two World Cup matches. Both were group stage matches and had the home team in action, in 1970 and 1986.