Special Report

The World Cups With the Highest Attendance Per Game

Matthias Hangst / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

The 22nd FIFA World Cup will be held in the Arabian Peninsula nation of Qatar from Nov. 20 to Dec. 18. It is the first time in the 92-year-old history of the World Cup that a Middle Eastern country has hosted the event. 

Qatar, which has never qualified for soccer’s premier event, will field a team since it is the host country. That will help boost attendance at the nearly month-long event, which might break World Cup attendance records. The nation of 3 million people is expected to host as many as 1.5 million visitors for the matches. (These are the best men’s national soccer teams of 2022.)

To compile a list of the World Cups with the most fans, based on the highest average attendance per game, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a report by the consumer data site Statista. Information on winners and runners-up came from FIFA, the governing body of international soccer. 

Because Qatar does not have a strong soccer tradition, much of the infrastructure – stadiums, hotels, roads – had to be built from the ground up for the World Cup. The price tag is estimated to be $200 billion. (Qatar has the dubious honor of being the country that’s the worst polluter in the world.)

Qatar constructed seven stadiums and renovated another. All eight stadiums will be cooled using solar power. Each of the facilities has seating capacity of more than 40,000. The largest, Lusail Stadium, has 80,000 capacity.

Click here to see the World Cups with the highest attendance per game

Mass transit will play an important part in getting spectators to the sports venues. The Doha Metro, which connects to all venues for the World Cup, may carry around 1 million people during the event. The eight stadiums are within a 35-mile radius of the capital city, Doha.

Despite the fact that Americans have still not embraced soccer to the extent that most other nations have, the World Cup held in the United States in 1994 holds the record for both total attendance (3,568,567) and average attendance per game (68,626). Soccer-mad Brazil has hosted the World Cup twice. The South American country had the event’s second-highest total attendance in 2014 (3,441,450) and was second in average attendance per game in 1950 (60,773).

Source: Keystone / Stringer / Getty Images

21. 1934 Italy
> Avg attendance per game: 23,235
> Total attendance: 395,000 — 21st highest
> World Cup champion: Italy
> Runner up: Czechoslovakia

[in-text-ad]

Source: Keystone / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

20. 1930 Uruguay
> Avg attendance per game: 24,139
> Total attendance: 434,000 — 20th highest
> World Cup champion: Uruguay
> Runner up: Argentina

Source: Keystone / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

19. 1962 Chile
> Avg attendance per game: 24,250
> Total attendance: 776,000 — 18th highest
> World Cup champion: Brazil
> Runner up: Czechoslovakia

Source: Keystone / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

18. 1958 Sweden
> Avg attendance per game: 24,800
> Total attendance: 868,000 — 17th highest
> World Cup champion: Brazil
> Runner up: Sweden

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Keystone / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

17. 1938 France
> Avg attendance per game: 26,833
> Total attendance: 483,000 — 19th highest
> World Cup champion: Italy
> Runner up: Hungary

Source: Getty Images / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

16. 1982 Spain
> Avg attendance per game: 35,698
> Total attendance: 1,856,277 — 10th highest
> World Cup champion: Italy
> Runner up: West Germany

[in-text-ad]

Source: Hulton Archive / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

15. 1954 Switzerland
> Avg attendance per game: 36,269
> Total attendance: 943,000 — 16th highest
> World Cup champion: West Germany
> Runner up: Hungary

Source: Steve Powell / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

14. 1978 Argentina
> Avg attendance per game: 42,374
> Total attendance: 1,610,215 — 14th highest
> World Cup champion: Argentina
> Runner up: The Netherlands

Source: Gunnar Berning / Bongarts via Getty Images

13. 2002 Japan / South Korea
> Avg attendance per game: 42,571
> Total attendance: 2,724,604 — 7th highest
> World Cup champion: Brazil
> Runner up: Germany

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Shaun Botterill / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

12. 1998 France
> Avg attendance per game: 44,676
> Total attendance: 2,859,234 — 6th highest
> World Cup champion: France
> Runner up: Brazil

Source: Mike King / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

11. 1986 Mexico
> Avg attendance per game: 46,297
> Total attendance: 2,407,431 — 9th highest
> World Cup champion: Argentina
> Runner up: West Germany

[in-text-ad]

Source: Getty Images / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

10. 1974 West Germany
> Avg attendance per game: 46,685
> Total attendance: 1,774,022 — 11th highest
> World Cup champion: West Germany
> Runner up: The Netherlands

Source: Matthias Hangst / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

9. 2018 Russia
> Avg attendance per game: 47,371
> Total attendance: 3,031,768 — 5th highest
> World Cup champion: France
> Runner up: Croatia

Source: Bongarts / Bongarts via Getty Images

8. 1990 Italy
> Avg attendance per game: 48,411
> Total attendance: 2,527,348 — 8th highest
> World Cup champion: Germany
> Runner up: Argentina

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Handout / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

7. 2010 South Africa
> Avg attendance per game: 49,499
> Total attendance: 3,167,984 — 4th highest
> World Cup champion: Spain
> Runner up: The Netherlands

Source: Evening Standard / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

6. 1966 England
> Avg attendance per game: 50,459
> Total attendance: 1,614,677 — 13th highest
> World Cup champion: England
> Runner up: West Germany

[in-text-ad]

Source: Central Press / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

5. 1970 Mexico
> Avg attendance per game: 52,312
> Total attendance: 1,673,975 — 12th highest
> World Cup champion: Brazil
> Runner up: Italy

Source: Lutz Bongarts / Bongarts via Getty Images

4. 2006 Germany
> Avg attendance per game: 52,609
> Total attendance: 3,367,000 — 3rd highest
> World Cup champion: Italy
> Runner up: France

Source: Matthias Hangst / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

3. 2014 Brazil
> Avg attendance per game: 53,772
> Total attendance: 3,441,450 — 2nd highest
> World Cup champion: Germany
> Runner up: Argentina

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Hulton Archive / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

2. 1950 Brazil
> Avg attendance per game: 60,773
> Total attendance: 1,337,000 — 15th highest
> World Cup champion: Uruguay
> Runner up: Brazil

Source: Lutz Bongarts / Bongarts via Getty Images

1. 1994 USA
> Avg attendance per game: 68,626
> Total attendance: 3,568,567 — the highest
> World Cup champion: Brazil
> Runner up: Italy

ALERT: Take This Retirement Quiz Now  (Sponsored)

Take the quiz below to get matched with a financial advisor today.

Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests.

Here’s how it works:
1. Answer SmartAsset advisor match quiz
2. Review your pre-screened matches at your leisure. Check out the advisors’ profiles.
3. Speak with advisors at no cost to you. Have an introductory call on the phone or introduction in person and choose whom to work with in the future

Take the retirement quiz right here.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.