Surveillance camera statistics_ which football fans are the most watched in the world_

Football fans across the globe look forward to their weekly dose of live football. Whether it be the Premier League, the Bundesliga, Major League Soccer, La Liga, or beyond, football fans travel in their thousands to stadiums to catch a glimpse of their favorite players.

But have you ever considered that you might be the one being watched?

Stadiums far and wide have been implementing vast numbers of surveillance technologies for years now. They’re often used to keep an eye on fans entering stadiums and to monitor behavior during the game, but some even go as far as using facial recognition to enforce bans.

Here at Comparitech, our team researched the top 100 stadiums in world football (or, soccer for our US readers) to find out which football fans are the most watched. Using a range of data resources and reports, including news articles and stadium statistics, we have collated the number of cameras found in each stadium. We focused on the number of cameras recording the public in and around the grounds and not those that record and stream matches on television.

We were able to find camera figures for 49 out of 100 stadiums.

Here are our key findings:

  • 2 stadiums have over 1,000 cameras–the Luzhniki Stadium in Russia and the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan Stadium in India
  • 25 stadiums use facial recognition technology to monitor their fans. A further four have considered and/or are trialing its use
  • 17 stadiums claim that facial recognition is not in use. Certain leagues (e.g. the Premier League) ban stadiums from implementing the technology

The 20 most surveilled football stadiums in the world – cameras per football fans

Based on the number of cameras per 1,000 football fans, these stadiums are the top 20 most surveilled in the world:

  1. Luzhniki Stadium – Russian National Team/FC Torpedo Moscow – Russia: 3,000 cameras for a 78,360 stadium capacity = 38.28 cameras per 1,000 football fans
  2. Turk Telekom Arena – Galatasaray S.K. – Turkey: 948 cameras for a 52,650 stadium capacity = 18.01 cameras per 1,000 football fans
  3. Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (“Salt Lake Stadium”) – Indian National Team – India: 1,000 cameras for a 68,000 stadium capacity = 14.71 cameras per 1,000 football fans
  4. Mercedes-Benz Stadium – Atlanta United FC – United States: 590 cameras for a 42,500 stadium capacity* = 13.88 cameras per 1,000 football fans
  5. Donbass Arena – FC Shakhtar Donetsk – Ukraine: 570 cameras for a 52,187 stadium capacity = 10.92 cameras per 1,000 football fans
  6. Azadi Stadium – Persepolis FC, Esteghlal FC, Iran National Team – Iran: 500 cameras for a 78,116 stadium capacity = 6.40 cameras per 1,000 football fans
  7. Parc des Princes – Paris Saint-Germain FC – France: 300 cameras for a 48,000 stadium capacity = 6.25 cameras per 1,000 football fans
  8. Santiago Bernabeu – Real Madrid CF – Spain: 500 cameras for an 81,044 stadium capacity = 6.17 cameras per 1,000 football fans
  9. Mineirão Stadium – Cruzeiro Esporte Clube/Clube Atlético Mineiro – Brazil: 364 cameras for a 61,927 stadium capacity = 5.88 cameras per 1,000 football fans
  10. Stade Geoffroy-Guichard – AS Saint-Étienne – France: 239 cameras for a 41,965 stadium capacity = 5.70 cameras per 1,000 football fans
  11. Mane Garrincha – Legião FC – Brazil: 400 cameras for a 72,788 stadium capacity = 5.50 cameras per 1,000 football fans
  12. Arena Corinthians (Neo Química Arena) – SC Corinthians Paulista – Brazil: 267 cameras for a 49,205 stadium capacity = 5.43 cameras per 1,000 football fans
  13. Elland Road – Leeds United FC – United Kingdom: 200 cameras for a 37,068 stadium capacity = 5.40 cameras per 1,000 football fans
  14. Stamford Bridge – Chelsea F.C. – United Kingdom: 216 cameras for a 40,341 stadium capacity = 5.35 cameras per 1,000 football fans
  15. St. James’ Park – Newcastle United FC – United Kingdom: 270 cameras for a 52,000 stadium capacity = 5.19 cameras per 1,000 football fans
  16. First National Bank (FNB or Soccer City) – Kaizer Chiefs FC – South Africa: 420 cameras for an 84,490 stadium capacity = 4.97 cameras per 1,000 football fans
  17. Itaipava Fonte Nova Arena – Esporte Clube Bahia – Brazil: 240 cameras for a 48,902 stadium capacity = 4.91 cameras per 1,000 football fans
  18. The Maracana – Fluminense FC, Clube de Regatas do Flamengo – Brazil: 383 cameras for a 78,838 stadium capacity = 4.86 cameras per 1,000 football fans
  19. Stade Pierre-Mauroy (Decathlon Arena) – LOSC Lille – France: 210 cameras for a 50,096 stadium capacity = 4.19 cameras per 1,000 football fans
  20. Estádio Cícero Pompeu de Toledo (Morumbi) – São Paulo FC – Brazil: 300 cameras for a 72,809 stadium capacity = 4.12 cameras per 1,000 football fans

*The Mercedes-Benz Stadium has different capacities for soccer (football) and American football fans. The stadium accommodates 42,500 soccer fans and 71,000 American football fans. We have used the capacity for soccer fans. 

The top 20 football stadiums with the highest number of CCTV cameras

Russia’s Luzhniki Stadium remains firmly at the top spot when we analyze the top 20 most surveilled stadiums based on the total number of cameras, but the remaining top 20 does change slightly from the above.

  1. Luzhniki Stadium (Moscow, Russia): 3,000 CCTV cameras
  2. Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (Kolkata, India): 1,000 CCTV cameras
  3. Turk Telekom Arena (Istanbul, Turkey): 948 CCTV cameras
  4. Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta, United States): 590 CCTV cameras
  5. Donbass Arena (Donetsk, Ukraine): 570 CCTV cameras
  6. Azadi Stadium (Tehran, Iran): 500 CCTV cameras
  7. Santiago Bernabeu (Madrid, Spain): 500 CCTV cameras
  8. First National Bank (Johannesburg, South Africa): 420 CCTV cameras
  9. Mane Garrincha (Brasília, Brazil): 400 CCTV cameras
  10. The Maracana (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil): 383 CCTV cameras
  11. Mineirão Stadium (Belo Horizonte, Brazil): 364 CCTV cameras
  12. Parc des Princes (Paris, France): 300 CCTV cameras
  13. Estádio Cícero Pompeu de Toledo–“Morumbi” (Sao Paulo, Brazil): 300 CCTV cameras
  14. St. James’ Park (Newcastle, United Kingdom): 270 CCTV cameras
  15. Arena Corinthians/Neo Química Arena (São Paulo, Brazil): 267 CCTV cameras
  16. Itaipava Fonte Nova Arena (Salvador, Brazil): 240 CCTV cameras
  17. Estádio Governador Plácido Castelo (Fortaleza, Brazil): – 240 CCTV cameras
  18. Wembley Stadium (London, United Kingdom): 240 CCTV cameras
  19. Stade Geoffroy-Guichard (Saint-Étienne, France): 239 CCTV cameras
  20. Stade de France (Saint-Denis, France): 220 CCTV cameras

The use of facial recognition

Our study found that 25 stadiums out of the top 100 in the world use facial recognition alongside their cameras. In many cases, this is for surveillance purposes. For example, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia (US) has recently employed the use of a robot dog, “Benzie,” to patrol the 11-acre site, send back real-time video, and scan faces.

In other cases, facial recognition is used within the ticketing systems–often to confirm fans’ identities.

For example, the Turkish Football Federation introduced an ID card that stores fans’ faces digitally. With the use of their Passolig system and a facial scanner at the grounds, the system can match the fan’s face to the biometric data on their ID card and award them entry into the grounds. The TFF reports that all stadiums within the first division in Turkey have implemented the technology.

The LIGA MX league in Mexico implemented a similar facial recognition fan ID system across all stadiums in Mexico.

Facial recognition within football stadiums has been met with its fair share of criticism. The Scottish Professional Football League made headlines in 2016 when it requested £4 million in public funding to set up high-tech cameras with facial recognition capabilities in stadiums across Scotland. Celtic supporters protested against the technology saying it made them feel like criminals. It was later rejected.

There is little evidence of facial recognition within the biggest clubs of the UK Premier League. It has recently been considered at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium. A banned Newcastle United fan was identified at St. James’ Park using facial recognition in 2020.

The use of facial recognition within the UK and across Europe has been heavily protected through data protection legislation, e.g. the GDPR. While facial recognition may be considered, data protection authorities will often rule against its use for being ‘disproportionate.’ The EU is also considering a blanket ban on facial recognition in public places.

That said, use of the tech is growing across Europe. While it may not be a surveillance tactic per se, the growing use of biometrics for day-to-day activities, such as making payments and confirming identities, is a cause for concern as our recent biometric data collection study found. For example, Atlético Madrid recently installed the tech, but only for cashless payments. Valencia CF is utilizing FacePhi to confirm fans’ identities and to ‘reduce queuing times.’

The growing use of surveillance in football stadiums

CCTV cameras in football stadiums are often installed to deter crime. But as we found in our recent study of the most surveilled cities in the world, there is little to no correlation between the number of cameras and crime rates. Essentially, more cameras don’t always mean less crime.

As our findings in this study and the above report suggest, surveillance continues to grow under the guise that it will provide more protection. While there may be adequate privacy protections in some countries surrounding this use of technology, CCTV cameras can also be used to discriminate against women and minorities. This was the case at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran, Iran in 2018 when two young women were arrested for disguising themselves as men to try and enter the grounds. The stadium is reported to have 500 surveillance cameras to try and prevent women from entering the stadium.

CCTV cameras may aid in deterring and solving crimes, but, as the above demonstrates, they can be used as an invasive surveillance tactic, especially when equipped with additional technology, such as facial recognition.


Our team searched through several resources to find the most up-to-date figures for the number of CCTV cameras in the top 100 football/soccer stadiums in the world. This includes stadiums that have a full-time football team as well as stadiums used for national teams. We have omitted any purpose-built stadium that was only used for one tournament (e.g. those in Qatar) and we’ve also omitted any for which we were unable to find data. We have only used stadiums in the US that have a full-time soccer team. Sometimes, these US stadiums may also have a full-time American football team. For fairness, we have only included the soccer capacity of these stadiums, which are often far lower.

With a wide range of sources, we made sure to only include the most up-to-date figures where possible. However, a general lack of public information regarding the number of surveillance cameras might mean actual figures are higher or lower than what is indicated.

We did not include cameras that are involved in the filming and/or recording of games, goal-line technology, or anything else similar to these. We only included CCTV cameras that specifically monitor fans throughout the stadium building.

Sources: For a full list of sources, please request access here.

Data researchers: Charlotte Bond