Narendra Modi Stadium attracts post-COVID record crowd

A bumper crowd of more than 66,000 reportedly attended yesterday’s (Sunday’s) Twenty20 cricket match between India and England at the Narendra Modi Stadium, which would mark the largest attendance in world sport since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 110,000-seat stadium, which is the largest cricket venue in the world, was open at around 50% capacity for Friday’s match between the two teams, which England won by eight wickets.

Around 57,000 fans are said to have attended Friday’s match but the BBC reported that “more than 66,000” were inside the Ahmedabad stadium for yesterday’s fixture.

This would comfortably surpass the largest attendance since the pandemic took hold last March. The previous high was 49,155 for November’s NRL State of Origin finale between Queensland and New South Wales at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.

Narendra Modi Stadium recently hosted the third and fourth Tests of the India-England series and will stage the third T20 match between the two teams tomorrow. The fourth and fifth matches are scheduled for Thursday and Saturday.

Following Friday’s match, Anil Patel, the joint secretary of the Gujarat Cricket Association, which owns and operates Narendra Modi Stadium, told the IANS news agency: “We had 52,000 official admission through turnstile (tickets). There were 3,000-4,000 complimentary tickets. The rest were police and volunteers, bringing the total to about 57,000.”

Narendra Modi Stadium opened as Moti Stadium last year, in a ceremony attended by former US President Donald Trump. The venue was officially renamed Narendra Modi Stadium, in honour of India’s Prime Minister, last month.

The stadium was built after the old Motera Stadium, with a seating capacity of 35,000, was demolished in 2015. The new venue overtook the 95,000-seat Melbourne Cricket Ground as the largest cricket stadium in the world.

Image: hughiethethird/CC BY 2.0/Edited for size