Sports in California

California currently has 19 major professional sports franchises, far more than any other US state. The San Francisco Bay Area has seven major league teams spread amongst three cities: San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose. The Greater Los Angeles Area has ten major league teams. San Diego and Sacramento each have one major league team.

Top tier professional sports teams

College sports

Home to some of most prominent universities in the United States, California has long had many respected collegiate sports programs, in particular the University of Southern California, University of California, Berkeley, UCLA, Stanford University, all of which are members of the Pac-12 Conference. They are often nationally ranked in the various sports and dominate media coverage of college sports in the state. In addition, those Universities boast the highest academic standards (on average) of all major college (NCAA Division I) programs. All 4 schools are ranked, academically, in the top 30 nationally with Cal (specifically) ranked as the #1 public university in the country (usually about #15 overall) and Stanford is the highest academically ranked Division 1A university in the country (usually #5 overall).

California is also home to the oldest college bowl game, the annual Rose Bowl (Pasadena), as well as the National Funding Holiday Bowl (San Diego) and Foster Farms Bowl (San Francisco). A second San Diego game, the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, was discontinued after the 2016 season.

The Great Heisman State

California has produced the most Heisman Trophy winners. Fourteen winners were both born and played high school football in the Golden State. Seven played collegiately at USC and one each at UCLA, Stanford, Army, Texas, Colorado, Notre Dame, and Miami.

NCAA Division I members

The following California universities are members of NCAA Division I, or have announced plans to upgrade from Division II to Division I (highlighted in green):

InstitutionNicknameLocationConferenceFootball
Subdivision
Cal Poly (San Luis Obispo)MustangsSan Luis ObispoBig West
(Big Sky for football)
FCS
Cal State BakersfieldRoadrunnersBakersfieldWAC
Cal State FullertonTitansFullertonBig West
Cal State NorthridgeMatadorsNorthridgeBig West
CaliforniaGolden BearsBerkeleyPac-12FBS
California BaptistLancersRiversideWAC (2018)
Fresno StateBulldogsFresnoMountain WestFBS
Long Beach State49ersLong BeachBig West
Loyola MarymountLionsLos AngelesWCC
PacificTigersStocktonWCC
PepperdineWavesMalibuWCC
Sacramento StateHornetsSacramentoBig SkyFCS
Saint Mary'sGaelsMoragaWCC
San DiegoTorerosSan DiegoWCC
San Diego StateAztecsSan DiegoMountain WestFBS
San FranciscoDonsSan FranciscoWCC
San Jose StateSpartansSan JoseMountain WestFBS
Santa ClaraBroncosSanta ClaraWCC
StanfordCardinalStanfordPac-12FBS
UC DavisAggiesDavisBig West
(Big Sky for football)
FCS
UC IrvineAnteatersIrvineBig West
UC RiversideHighlandersRiversideBig West
UC San DiegoTritonsSan DiegoBig West (2020)
UC Santa BarbaraGauchosSanta BarbaraBig West
UCLABruinsLos AngelesPac-12FBS
USCTrojansLos AngelesPac-12FBS

International sports events

California has hosted the Olympic Games three times. Los Angeles, the largest city in the state, hosted both the 1932[1] and 1984 Summer Olympics.[2] Squaw Valley, California hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics.[3] Los Angeles and San Francisco were in the race for the United States Olympic Committee nomination to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, but eventually lost to Chicago. Los Angeles will host the Olympic Games for a third time in 2028.

Besides the Olympics, California has also hosted several major international soccer events:

Local sports

Most city municipals house a variety of sports activities. The available sports are typically listed on their city websites. Additionally, there are a variety of California Sports activities listed on FindSportsNow's California database.

Motorsports

California has also long been a hub for motorsports and auto racing. The city of Long Beach holds an event every year in the month of April, which is host to IndyCar Series racing through the streets of downtown. Long Beach has hosted Formula One events there in the past, and also currently hosts an event on the United SportsCar Championship schedule. Auto Club Speedway is a speedway in Fontana and currently hosts one NASCAR Cup Series race along with the 2nd-tier Xfinity Series a year. Sonoma Raceway is a multi-purpose facility outside Sonoma, featuring a road course and a drag strip. Different versions of the road course are home to a NASCAR event and an IndyCar event. The drag strip hosts a yearly NHRA event. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is a road course near Monterey that currently hosts an ALMS event, a round of the Rolex Sports Car Series and the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. The Auto Club Raceway at Pomona has hosted NHRA drag racing for over 50 years.

The NASCAR Cup Series holds two races in California, one each at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana and at Sonoma Raceway, formerly Sears Point Raceway. The IndyCar Series competes every April in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, through the streets of downtown Long Beach. IndyCar also holds an event at Sonoma in the summer. The NHRA Drag Racing Series holds three national events in California, as well; two at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona (formerly Pomona Raceway) and at the aforementioned Sonoma Raceway.

Notable off-road courses include Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park, Glen Helen Raceway and Prairie City State Park. Also, the AMA Supercross Series holds several events in stadiums at Californian cities such as Anaheim, Oakland, and San Diego.

Golf

California has several notable golf courses, like Cypress Point Club, Olympic Club, Pebble Beach Golf Links, Riviera Country ClubPacific Palisades, California and Torrey Pines Golf Course. Notable tournaments include the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Northern Trust Open, Farmers Insurance Open.

Notable Californian golfers include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Johnny Miller, Gene Littler, Amy Alcott, Paula Creamer and Juli Inkster.

Horse racing

Horse racing is regulated by the California Horse Racing Board. Notable racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Del Mar Fairgrounds, Los Alamitos, Golden Gate Fields and Pleasanton Fairgrounds. Notable races include the Santa Anita Derby, Santa Anita Handicap, Pacific Classic Stakes and Champion of Champions.

Former racetracks include Bay Meadows and Hollywood Park.

Others

The California State Games, a statewide Olympics-like sport event, take place in California every year. The United States Olympic Committee governs this event.[4]

Many of California's high school teams are often nationally ranked.

Skateboarding

Skateboarding is a sport heavily associated with California as it is the place where the sport started. Professional skateboarder Tony Hawk was born in Carlsbad, California in 1968 and was involved in many bowlriding and vert competitions there.

Northern California – Southern California rivalry

Most of the teams from Northern California and Southern California are involved in intrastate rivalries. There are particularly strong rivalries between the Bay Area and Los Angeles teams.

Stadiums and arenas

StadiumCityCapacityTypeTenantsOpened
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum[5][6]Los Angeles93,607FootballUSC Trojans, Los Angeles Rams1923
Rose Bowl[7]Pasadena92,542FootballUCLA Bruins; Rose Bowl Game1922
SDCCU StadiumSan Diego71,294Multi-purposeSan Diego State Aztecs; Holiday Bowl1967
SoFi StadiumInglewood70,240Multi-purposeLos Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams2020 (planned)
Candlestick Park
(demolished 2015)
San Francisco70,207Multi-purpose1960
Levi's StadiumSanta Clara68,500FootballSan Francisco 49ers,
San Jose Earthquakes
2014
Oakland–Alameda County ColiseumOakland63,026Multi-purposeOakland Raiders, Oakland Athletics1966
California Memorial StadiumBerkeley62,717FootballCalifornia Golden Bears1923
Kezar Stadium (original)
(demolished 1989)
San Francisco59,924FootballSan Francisco Dons (1925–1951, 1959–1971),
San Francisco 49ers (1946–1970),
Oakland Raiders (1960)
1925
Dodger Stadium[8]Los Angeles56,000BaseballLos Angeles Dodgers1962
Stanford StadiumStanford50,000FootballStanford Cardinal1921; 2006
Angel Stadium of Anaheim[9]Anaheim45,050BaseballLos Angeles Angels of Anaheim1966
Petco Park[10]San Diego42,445BaseballSan Diego Padres2004
Oracle ParkSan Francisco41,503BaseballSan Francisco Giants;
Foster Farms Bowl
2000
Bulldog StadiumFresno41,031FootballFresno State Bulldogs1980
CEFCU StadiumSan Jose30,456FootballSan Jose State Spartans1933
Dignity Health Sports ParkCarson27,000SoccerLA Galaxy,
Los Angeles Chargers
2003
Banc of California StadiumLos Angeles22,000SoccerLos Angeles FC2018
Hornet StadiumSacramento21,650FootballSacramento State Hornets1969
Hughes StadiumSacramento20,311Multi-purpose1928
Oakland ArenaOakland19,596ArenaOakland Panthers1966
Staples CenterLos Angeles18,997ArenaLos Angeles Clippers,
Los Angeles Lakers,
Los Angeles Kings,
Los Angeles Sparks
1999
SAP Center at San JoseSan Jose18,543ArenaSan Jose Sharks
San Jose Barracuda
1993
Honda CenterAnaheim18,211ArenaAnaheim Ducks
Los Angeles Kiss
1993
Chase CenterSan Francisco18,064ArenaGolden State Warriors2019
Avaya StadiumSan Jose18,000SoccerSan Jose Earthquakes2015
The ForumInglewood17,505Arena1967
Golden 1 CenterSacramento17,500ArenaSacramento Kings2016
Sleep Train ArenaSacramento17,317ArenaSacramento Kings (1988–2016)1988
Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena
(demolished in 2016)
Los Angeles16,161Arena1959
Indian Wells Tennis Garden Stadium 1Indian Wells16,100TennisIndian Wells Masters2000
Save Mart CenterFresno15,544ArenaFresno State Bulldogs2003
Pechanga ArenaSan Diego14,500ArenaSan Diego Gulls
San Diego Sockers
1966
Sutter Health ParkWest Sacramento14,011BaseballSacramento River Cats2000
Pauley PavilionLos Angeles13,800ArenaUCLA Bruins1965
Cow PalaceDaly City12,953Arena1941
Chukchansi ParkFresno12,500Baseball / soccerFresno Grizzlies, Fresno FC (from 2018)2002
Viejas ArenaSan Diego12,414ArenaSan Diego State Aztecs1997
Haas PavilionBerkeley11,858ArenaCalifornia Golden Bears1933
Long Beach ArenaLong Beach11,719Arena1962
Papa Murphy's ParkSacramento11,442SoccerSacramento Republic FC
2014
Selland ArenaFresno11,544Arena1966
Stockton ArenaStockton11,100ArenaStockton Heat
Stockton Kings
2005
Toyota ArenaOntario10,832ArenaAgua Caliente Clippers, Ontario Reign, Ontario Fury2008
Galen CenterLos Angeles10,258ArenaUSC Trojans2006
Kezar Stadium (current)San Francisco10,000SoccerMany teams, most recently San Francisco Deltas (2017)1990
Titan StadiumFullerton10,000SoccerCal State Fullerton Titans, California United FC (from 2019)1992
Rabobank ArenaBakersfield9,333ArenaBakersfield Condors1998
Dignity Health Sports Park (tennis)Carson9,000Tennis2004
Walter PyramidLong Beach8,500ArenaLong Beach State 49ers men's basketball1994
Indian Wells Tennis Garden Stadium 2Indian Wells8,000TennisIndian Wells Masters2014
Anaheim Convention Center The Arena at the Anaheim Convention CenterAnaheim7,500Arena1967
The Pavilion at ARCDavis7,650ArenaUC Davis Aggies men's basketball1977
Maples PavilionStanford7,233ArenaStanford Cardinal1969; 2004
Stevens StadiumSanta Clara7,000SoccerSanta Clara Broncos1962
Torero StadiumSan Diego6,000Football / soccerSan Diego Toreros, San Diego Legion1961
Alex G. Spanos CenterStockton6,100ArenaPacific Tigers men's basketball1981
Bren Events CenterIrvine6,000ArenaUC Irvine Anteaters men's basketball1984
UC Santa Barbara Events CenterSanta Barbara6,000ArenaUC Santa Barbara Gauchos men's basketball1979
San Jose State Event CenterSan Jose5,000ArenaSan Jose State Spartans1989
Los Angeles Tennis CenterLos Angeles5,800TennisUCLA Bruins1984
Jenny Craig PavilionSan Diego5,500ArenaUC San Diego Tritons1992
The Sobrato CenterSan Francisco5,300ArenaUniversity of San Francisco1974
RIMACSan Diego5,000ArenaUC San Diego Tritons1992
Titan GymFullerton5,000ArenaCal State Fullerton Titans men's basketball1964
Kezar PavilionSan Francisco5,000Arena1924
Leavey CenterSanta Clara5,000ArenaSanta Clara Broncos1974

See also

References

  1. 1932 Summer Olympics, International Olympic Committee website.
  2. 1984 Summer Olympics, International Olympic Committee website.
  3. 1960 Winter Olympics, International Olympic Committee website.
  4. Official site of the California State Games
  5. Media-Newswire.com – Press Release Distribution. "media-newswire.com". media-newswire.com. Retrieved 2013-05-12.
  6. www.dailytrojan.com Archived 2008-09-15 at the Wayback Machine
  7. "History". Rose Bowl Stadium. Rose Bowl Stadium. Retrieved 28 November 2014.
  8. "losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com". losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com. Retrieved 2013-05-12.
  9. "anaheim.angels.mlb.com". anaheim.angels.mlb.com. Retrieved 2013-05-12.
  10. "sandiego.padres.mlb.com". sandiego.padres.mlb.com. 2008-09-28. Retrieved 2013-05-12.
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