Athletic pursuits are now more popular than ever before. With the 2024 Summer Olympics on the horizon and buzz about the games starting to grow, the popularity of track and field sports will likely only grow further over the next 12 months.
So, with athletics growing in popularity, we wondered which athletics stadiums are currently capable of holding the most fans. Well, here’s the answer.
#5 Stade de France, Saint-Denis – 75,000 people
The Stade de France is a sporting mecca and one of the finest stadiums in the world. The national stadium of France, it’s a truly multi-purpose venue. As well as hosting many athletics events (it will host the athletics portion of the upcoming 2024 Summer Olympics), the stadium has also hosted major matches in several other sports, such as the final of the FIFA World Cup in 1998 and the final of UEFA Euro 2016. Next month, it will host the upcoming Rugby World Cup final.
#4 Beijing National Stadium, Beijing – 80,000 people
The Beijing National Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest, was initially designed for the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. On top of this, it was also used for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.
One of the finest Olympic stadiums in existence, the Bird’s Nest has a capacity of 80,000 people for athletics events. It was absolutely full to the rafters when Usain Bolt crossed the line in the men’s 100 metres final back in 2008, when he broke the world record with a time of 9.690. For good measure, he also claimed the 200 metre title and the 4×100 metre gold in the same stadium.
#3 Guangdong Olympic Stadium, Guangzhou – 80,012 people
The Guangdong Olympic Stadium, also known as the Aoti Main Stadium, is also located within the People’s Republic of China.
Although the Olympics have never been hosted here (it was originally supposed to host the games in 2008), the stadium has played host to the Asian Games and the Pan Asian Games, both in 2010.
Even though it is primarily an athletics stadium, the Guangdong Olympic Stadium has also hosted football matches featuring several Premier League teams.
#2 Bukit Jalil National Stadium, Kuala Lumpur – 87,411 people
The second largest athletics stadium in the world is also located in Asia. The Bukit Jalil National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur can house up to 87,411 athletics fans.
The stadium was built for the 1998 Commonwealth Games, but since then it has also hosted the Southeast Asian Games twice.
On top of this, the stadium has also hosted football matches between several Premier League football teams, as well as notable performances from the likes of Coldplay, Ed Sheeran and Muse.
#1 Rungrado 1st of May Stadium, Pyongyang – 114,000 people
The Rungrado 1st of May Stadium isn’t just the largest athletics stadium in the world: it’s the largest stadium in the world by seating capacity. Although 114,000 fans are welcomed for athletics meetings, the stadium can officially hold up to 150,000 people.
The stadium was built after the 1988 Summer Olympics had been awarded to Seoul. In response to this decision, North Korea successfully bid to organise the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students in Pyongyang in 1989.
Today, the stadium is still used for sporting events, including the Pyongyang Marathon. However, it’s more commonly used for massive performances and shows celebrating the Eternal President Kim Il Sung and the North Korean nation.
Of course, most athletics meetings don’t attract crowds of these size. But, it shows that, for major events like the Summer Olympics at least, public appetite for watching live athletics is very much there.