Skip to main content
In depth

By The Charts: Highest One Day Attendance in the World

Building an attraction is the art and science of bringing people together.  At its most fundamental level, our work is in understanding how to entertain the highest number of people in a single place.

Wonwhee Kim, Partner at Pro Forma Advisors, LLC (A Park Database Feature

By Wonwhee Kim, Founder of The Park Database (left)

So we started this post as a light-hearted question.  

What is the drawing power of the entire range of location-based entertainment, if we expand the definition to include all attractions that bring people together, such as festivals, sporting matches, fairs, or even virtual events?

For purposes of comparison, we compared one day attendance/participation levels.  So how do they compare?

ProForma Advisors: Highest One Day Attendance in the World


10, 000, 000s

  • As we expected, including online games and virtual events here (light blue) was a bit anomalous.  With almost negligible incremental costs of accommodating people, the volumes of people participating in online games are staggering.  Consider that King’s IPO prospectus reported a daily participation of 90 million.
  • Also in this category is the astounding Makar Sankranti festival at the Ganges River, India.  With a reported 20 Candy Crush Saga million daily visitors, the religious festival/pilgrimage is the largest one-day attended event in the physical (rather than virtual) world.

1, 000, 000s

  • This is still the realm of free events.  One order of magnitude down from the Makar Sankranti festival are parades and festivals such as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or Carnaval.
  • To our knowledge, the 2010 Shanghai Expo recorded the highest one day attendance of admissions-charging events in the world.  The Chinese government was reported to have subsidized thousands of tickets in urging residents to attend, but it is unclear exactly how many.

100, 000s

  • This is where the highest attended paid events begin in earnest.  Sporting events dominate this category, with various forms of football (rugby, soccer and American) and automobile racing (NASCAR, Grand Prix).
  • The highest attended theme parks and music festivals are on par in terms of their one-day attendance.  Once again, these numbers are presented only as one-day attendance figures for comparability – theme parks are operated year-round, music festivals usually take place over the course of a weekend.


The above chart was prepared on a logarithmic scale.  This is what it would actually look like on a standard scale below!

ProForma: Highest One Day Attendance in the World standard scale graph
Thoughts?  Comments?  Let us know what we missed.

Charts: Pro Forma

Search for something

More from this author

Related content

Your web browser is out of date. Update your browser for more security, speed and the best experience on this site.

Find out how to update