A list of the top 30 most attended IIHF World Championships (out of 76 total). The 2014 tournament, in Belarus, holds the record for overall attendance. The record for the most average spectators per game was set during the 1985 event hosted by the then Czechoslovakia. Not included are the Olympic tournaments, which though they are run as an IIHF tournament, have been separate from the World Championships since 1972.
Despite reluctance in some circles to have such a tournament in Olympic years, the three most attended World Championships overall have taken place on years that coincided with the holding of a best-on-best tournament, either the Olympics (2010 and 2014) or the World Cup of Hockey (2004).
It should be considered that because of a changing pool-size of teams through the years, the number of games contested at the IIHF World Championships can range from 32 in 1979 to 64 in 2012 and beyond, therefore "attendance per game" is an equally important statistic to measure the success of a given tournament. Seven tournaments have had averages over 9,000 spectators per game, and two have topped the 10,000 mark.
In an effort to broaden the sport's appeal, the number of top division teams was also increased from a mere 8 (as late as 1991) to 16 (starting in 1998), leading to an influx of lesser teams that could negatively impact average attendance. To combat this, some organizers have aggressively pushed the sale of day passes that bundle popular games with less sought-after ones.
There are two countries with four of the top 30 most attended tournaments; Sweden and Finland, and four countries with three of the top 30 most attended tournaments; Austria, Czechoslovakia, Switzerland and Germany. There are 13 separate nations who have hosted the championships at least once, and are represented on the top 30.