The MCG is one of the largest stadiums in the world and throughout its 159-year history has held numerous events attended by well in excess of 100,000 people.
Australian football and cricket (both international and domestic) have been the staple diet of events at the MCG – the ground has hosted more than 100 VFL/AFL Grand Finals and another 100-plus Test matches, many of them starting on the now-traditional Boxing Day.
Ever since the MCC encouraged its entrepreneurial caterers to sponsor the first visit by an England cricket team to Australia, big crowds have flocked to the MCG.
Stadium management always has been mindful of anticipating sporting trends. The MCG has successfully accommodated people at all levels of comfort and convenience in a variety of grandstands or open-air terraces.
Ironically it is not a sporting event which holds the attendance record at the MCG. This honour belongs to American evangelist Billy Graham, who in 1959 attracted an estimated crowd of more than 130,000 (some estimates go as high as 143,750), many of whom had spilled onto the arena.
The biggest football crowd (121,696) and cricket crowd (90,800) almost certainly will never be exceeded. The demands of modern day spectators for comfortable seating and uninterrupted viewing comes at considerable cost to capacity. On the world stage, the MCG’s most notable attendance record (still standing) is 1.153 million patrons for the 15 days of the 1956 Olympics.
By the mid-nineties, annual attendances at the MCG exceeded 3.5 million – more than the population of Melbourne. It is doubtful that any other stadium in the world could make a similar claim.
|| 15-day aggregate for 1956 Games (an Olympic record)
|| Record Test match attendance (third Test 1936-37 over six days)
|| Billy Graham crusade, 1959 (Est.)
|| VFL Grand Final, Carlton v Collingwood, 1970
|| Final ceremony Eucharistic Congress, 1973 (Est.)
|| AFL Grand Final, Collingwood v St Kilda, 2010
|| VFL first round match 1958 (Melbourne v Collingwood)
|| Soccer friendly (Australia v Greece), 2006
|| Record daily cricket attendance Aust v West Indies 1961
|| Bledisloe Cup rugby union (Australia v New Zealand) 1997
|| Boxing Day Test, Australia v England, 2006 (Day 1)
|| World Cup Final, Pak vs Eng, 1992 (Then world record limited-overs attendance)
|| State-of-Origin rugby league (NSW v Queensland) 1994
|| World Cup Soccer Qualifier (Australia v Iran), 1997
|| Twenty20 International, Australia v India, 2008
|| Sound Relief Concert, 2009
|| Record Australian domestic cricket crowd, T20, Melbourne Stars v Melbourne Renegades, (2013)
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