While there still might have been a few thousand empty seats during Olympic football matches, attendance records were set at the London Games for the sport. It wouldn’t really be fair to call them the London Games though, since Glasgow, Cardiff, and Coventry were also used as football venues.
There were an Olympic record 86,162 supporters on hand at Wembley on Saturday Aug. 11 for the men’s final between Mexico and Brazil. But thousands may have missed the first goal of the match as it came after just 28 seconds in Mexico’s 2-1 gold-medal win.
An Olympic and European record was also set for the women’s gold-medal game as 80,203 fans saw the Americans win their third straight gold medal in football with a determined 2-1 win over an equally gutsy Japanese team.
In total, there were 32 men’s matches at the Games along with 26 women’s contests. The total attendance for the 58 matches was 2,186,930. The previous best for an Olympic football tournament was 2,137,462, which was set just four years ago in Beijing China.
This year, 1,525,134 fans attended the men’s matches while 1,397,448 showed up in Beijing. The women’s games attracted 740,014 in Britain while 661,796 made it to the stadiums four years ago. FIFA said it was happy with the turnout as a spokesman stated, "The attendances at the football tournament throughout the Games have been fantastic, despite some early concerns about tickets not being sold. But to set an Olympic attendance record not only shows the great love of football in Britain, but also the real strength of football as an Olympic sport."