The 2023 Men’s Challenge Cup final saw an attendance of 58,213 inside Wembley Stadium, with motorway delays leaving some supporters stranded.
BBC lead commentator Dave Woods reported that at as many as 20,000 fans were still making their way to the ground midway through the first half between Leigh Leopards and Hull KR.
The Rugby Football League were expecting a crowd of 60,000, but fell just short on rugby league’s biggest day in the capital – although more supporters may enter for the 1895 Cup final between Batley and Halifax.
The recorded crowd beat last year’s number at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as 51,628 saw Wigan win the prestigious competition over Huddersfield Giants with a 16-14 score.
The 2021 final at Wembley Stadium was limited to 40,000 due to Covid-19, while 2020 between Leeds and Salford was forced to be played behind closed doors.
2019 recorded a crowd of 62,717 as Warrington Wolves defeated St Helens 18-4, with 50,672 the previous year as Catalans claimed their first title.
The 2015 final recorded the highest attendance of the last decade as 80,140 witnessed Leeds’ 50-0 thrashing over Hull KR.
The 2023 competition marked the first year since 1986 that the final hasn’t featured Leeds, Wigan, St Helens or Warrington.
Women’s Challenge Cup enjoys record crowd
Meanwhile the Women’s Challenge Cup final attracted a record crowd of 8,338.
It was the first time the Women’s final had been staged at Wembley Stadium in a record triple-header day of rugby league, with the 1895 Cup closing the eight-hour action packed day.
The previous record was 5,888 at Elland Road in 2022.
Matty Smith’s St Helens claimed a 22-8 triumph over Leeds Rhinos to seal their third consecutive win in the competition.