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Guinness Confirms World Record For The Big Chill At The Big House, But Tallies Much Lower Crowd Figure

The good news? The Big Chill at The Big House hockey game between Michigan and Michigan State held at Michigan Stadium last Saturday set a world record for largest audience to watch an outdoor hockey game.

The bad news? The Guinness World Records disagree with the unofficial attendance numbers announced by Michigan.

Unofficially, the crowd at Michigan Stadium on Saturday was counted at 113,411. That shattered the previous record of 77,803, set in May at the World Championships in Germany.

Guinness World Records, however, is certifying the attendance at 85,451. That’s still a world record, but obviously a far lower number than Michigan was touting.

So what caused such a major discrepancy?


Guinness uses a different system of calculating attendance than the NCAA. Guinness adjudicator Mike Janela said Saturday that Guinness relies on the number of tickets scanned on the day of event rather than tickets sold.

Janela himself offered further explanation on the official Guinness World Records website:

The University announced an unofficial crowd of 113,411 during the third period. To better the GWR mark of 77,803 set at this year’s IIHF World Championships, however, it was necessary to provide scanned evidence of the bar codes on each spectator’s ticket. At the time of the announcement, 85,451 tickets had been scanned, with the numbers continuing to increase, but more than enough to certify a new record.

While we still await final documention to award an official final number, the spectacle of the event can’t be denied.

So it appears that a final attendance figure has yet to be verified. But it looks like the numbers from Guinness and the NCAA aren’t going to match up.

Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon told that “media members, stadium workers and other people present for a game” are usually factored into an attendance mark. Guinness does have a list of non-ticket holders who were in Michigan Stadium for the hockey game.

So which attendance figure are you going to cite when talking about The Big Chill at The Big House years from now? And be honest, have you looked at the Guinness World Records since you were in grade school?