This past weekend the A-League’s Sydney Derby broke the single game crowd record for the League. In response, the Melbourne Victory have already proposed a Melbourne derby next season at the MCG to give the club a chance to reclaim its lost record. In honour of this record-breaking spirit let’s take a look at some the largest crowds to attend sporting events in Australia – and one mind-blowing figure from overseas.
Netball: 13,314 – Sydney SuperDome
ANZ Championship Rd 9 2016 – NSW Swifts v Queensland Firebirds
The NSW Swifts and QLD Firebirds have played some of the most gripping contests in Australian netball. Their rivalry has seen fans flock to their games in huge numbers as it was on this night.
Basketball (Single Game): 15,366 – Rod Laver Arena
NBL 1996 – SE Melbourne Magic v Melbourne Tigers
“This is the greatest game I’ve ever seen,” Stephen Quartermain.
With Lindsay Gaze and Brian Goorjian pacing the sidelines overseeing teams containing Andrew Gaze, Lanard Copeland and Mark Bradtke up against Slamming Sam McKinnon, Chris Anstey and Tony Ronaldson it was a golden time in Australian Basketball. The Tigers won this match up but the rivalry grew as the teams went head to head in the next two championship series. A double header in Sydney bettered this crowd in 1999, but no single NBL match has attracted more to it than this match-up between its greatest ever rivals. If you want to see them ripping into each other you can watch the last quarter here:
Super Rugby: 52,113 – Suncorp Stadium
2011 Final – Reds v Crusaders
Over 50,000 Queenslanders crammed into Suncorp Stadium to watch their Reds compete for their first Super Rugby crown. An incredibly tight match ultimately decided by an individual effort from Wallaby Will Genia.
BBL: 80,883 – MCG
January, 2016 – Stars v Renegades
In January of this year MCG officials were caught off-guard by the huge numbers who swarmed to the MCG for the BBL Melbourne Derby between the Stars and Renegades. It was pure mayhem as the sheer volume of people converged on the G caused huge delays as the usually orderly entry systems failed, causing large delays outside the ground. While Cricket Australia and the MCC offered apologies for the delays, the Stars recorded a 7 wicket win.
Test Match (Single Day): 91,112 – MCG
Boxing Day 2013 – Australia v England
Australia had already regained the Ashes with victory in the three preceding matches. This did not stop a World Record Crowd for a Test Match gathering to watch the continuation of the Mitchell Johnson show.
One Day International: 93,013 – MCG
World Cup Final 2015 – Australia v New Zealand
The largest noise I can ever remember came in the first over of this match. New Zealand Skipper Brendan McCullum’s dismissal saw a 93,013 person, largely parochially Australian, crowd unleash an almost primal scream. If the ‘G’ had a roof it may well have been blown off.
A-League Friendly: 95,446 – MCG
Friendly 2013 – Victory v Liverpool
95,000+ Melbournians singing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ was quite a welcome for Steven Gerrard and his team-mates. The Victory gave them a stern test but the Premier League club walked away with a 2-0 win.
Soccer: 104,987 – Stadium Australia
Olympic Gold Medal Match 2000 – Spain v Cameroon
The record crowd for a soccer match in Australia is also the record crowd for an Olympic Gold Medal Football Match. On this day Cameroon surprised Spain on penalties to claim the Gold Medal.
NRL: 107,558 – Stadium Australia
1999 Grand Final – Melbourne v St George Illawarra
The largest ever crowd for a Rugby League game in the world crammed into Stadium Australia for the 1999 Grand Final, the second year Melbourne Storm took on St George Illawarra in their first season as a joint venture. A riveting finish was far from anyone’s mind when a sensational Nathan Blacklock try saw the Dragons take a 14-0 half time lead. The Storm weren’t to be denied though, the conversion of a 77th minute penalty try handing them their first title.
Rugby Union: 109,874 – Stadium Australia
2000 Bledisloe Cup – Australia v New Zealand
The largest ever Rugby Union crowd were treated to a Bledisloe Cup classic. In front of 109,874 screaming fans, some of whom who may still have been finding their seats by the time the All-Blacks had raced to 24-0 lead in only 10 minutes!! Equally remarkable was the fact that both teams were on level terms again by the half time break. Stirling Mortlock’s 20 points not enough for the Wallabies in the end, with New Zealand winning this 10 try epic 39-35.
Australian Football: 121,696 – MCG
1970 Grand Final – Carlton v Collingwood
Hard to see this ever being eclipsed. The largest crowd to watch a football match in this country witnessed the greatest comeback in Grand Final history as Carlton recovered from a 40-point half time deficit to claim the premiership by 10-points. Reconfigurations have seen the MCG’s capacity greatly reduced. The record crowd – 100,016 for its current configuration – was in attendance for the 2010 Grand Final.
World Cup: 173,850 – Maracana Stadium, Brazil
1950 World Cup Final – Uruguay v Brazil
Just like the AFL record, this will never be challenged either. An extraordinary 173,850 expectant Brazilian fans attended the World Cup Final. They were to leave heart-broken as their national team were bested 1-0 by their South American rivals. Just like the MCG, the Maracana has been dramatically reconfigured, the 2014 World Cup Final housed a crowd of 74,738.