Tucked into the sea resort of Borg El Arab is a massive Egyptian soccer stadium that holds 86,000 fans. Commissioned as part of the country’s failed bid for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, it now hosts the Egyptian National Team.

Planted in the city of Alexandria, Egypt, the surrounding metropolis contains more than 4.5 million citizens. (That’s bigger than Los Angeles and Detroit combined.)

Try to imagine a conversation taking place in Arabic in Egypt’s largest seaport, where an estimated 80 percent of the country’s importing and exporting takes place: Yeah, there’s this rural town of not even 60,000 in the middle of vast agricultural land. A place called Auburn, Alabama. They have a gigantic stadium there — they don’t even play soccer in it — and it holds more than our Borg El Arab!

That’s the reality of SEC football. The conference’s stadiums are some of the biggest in the world, representing four of the top 10 and seven of the Top 25, many in towns that more than double in population on game days.

It’s hard to comprehend just how remarkable that is. But India, which contains about four times the population of the United States as well as a love for cricket and soccer, claims just one stadium among the 25 largest in the world. No other country manages even two stadiums larger than Jordan-Hare, the fourth-largest by capacity in one division of one conference within college football.

Kyle Field, due to a stadium expansion project, ballooned to more than 106,000 this year, boosting the SEC into the Top 5. But that figure will dwindle by a few thousand, and the Big Ten again will claim the three biggest stadiums in college football.

Not including the Cotton Bowl, 13 of the world’s 25 largest stadiums exist because of college football.


1. Rungrado May Day Stadium (Pyongyang, North Korea): 150,000
2. Salt Lake Stadium (Kolkata, India): 120,000
3. Michigan Stadium (Ann Arbor, Mich.): 109,901
4. Beaver Stadium (State College, Pa.): 107,282
5. Kyle Field (College Station, Texas): 106,511*
6. Estadio Azteca (Mexico City, Mexico): 105,000
7. Ohio Stadium (Columbus, Ohio): 104,944
8. Neyland Stadium (Knoxville, Tenn.): 102,455
9. Tiger Stadium (Baton Rouge, La.): 102,321
10. Bryant-Denny Stadium (Tuscaloosa, Ala.): 101,821
11. Bukit Jalil National Stadium (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia): 100,411
12. Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium (Austin, Texas): 100,119
13. Melbourne Cricket Ground (Melbourne, Australia): 100,024
14. Camp Nou (Barcelona, Spain): 99,786
15. Soccer City (Johannesburg, South Africa): 94,713
16. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (Los Angeles, Calif.): 93,607
17. Sanford Stadium (Athens, Ga.): 92,746
18. Rose Bowl (Pasadena, Calif.): 92,542
19. Cotton Bowl (Dallas, Texas): 92,100
20. Memorial Stadium (Lincoln, Neb.): 91,471
21. Wembley Stadium (London, England): 90,000
22. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (Gainesville, Fla.): 88,548
23. Gelora Bung Karno Stadium (Jakarta, Indonesia): 88,306
24. Jordan-Hare Stadium (Auburn, Ala.): 87,451
25. Borg El Arab Stadium (Alexandria, Egypt): 86,000

*Capacity will shrink to 102,512 after scheduled renovations are complete this year.