Sports in California

California has 21 major professional sports franchises, far more than any other US state. The San Francisco Bay Area has six 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.

California is home to some of most successful collegiate sports teams in the country. Among the list of NCAA schools with the most NCAA Division I championships the Stanford Cardinal, UCLA Bruins, USC Trojans and Cal Berkeley Golden Bears rank #1, #2, #3 and #10 on the list by teams with the most titles, and #1, #4, #2, and #7 by most individual titles, respectively.

It is the only U.S. state to have hosted both the Summer and Winter Olympics. Los Angeles hosted the 1932 and 1984 summer games, and will host the 2028 Summer Olympics. The 1960 Winter Olympics was held at the Squaw Valley Ski Resort in the Lake Tahoe region.

Top tier professional sports teams

Pro Football

California has produced the most Super Bowl winning Head Coaches in the history of the NFL,[1] whether born or raised in the state (at least having attended High School in CA). Collecively, California Head Coaches have accounted for 17 Super Bowl wins. Great State In chronological order of first Super Bowl win: John Madden (Jefferson HS, Daly City), Tom Flores (Sanger; Sanger Union HS), Bill Walsh (Los Angeles; Hayward HS, Hayward), Joe Gibbs (Santa Fe HS, Santa Fe Springs), George Seifert (San Francisco; San Francisco Poly HS), Mike Holmgren (San Francisco; Abraham Lincoln HS), Dick Vermeil (Calistoga; Calistoga HS), Brian Billick (Redlands HS, Redlands), Sean Payton (San Mateo), Pete Carroll (San Francisco; Redwood HS, Larkspur), Andy Reid (Los Angeles; John Marshall HS).

College sports

The California–UCLA football rivalry between the football team of the University of California, Berkeley and team of the University of California, Los Angeles is the third-longest never-interrupted rivalry in college football. Due to the two teams nicknames being named after bears, it is sometimes referred to as the Bear Bowl by some fans.

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 either Cal or UCLA ranked as the #1 public university in the country (usually #20 overall) and Stanford as 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 San Francisco Bowl. A second San Diego game, the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, was discontinued after the 2016 season.

According to the list of American universities with Olympic medalist students and alumni the top 4 universities on the list are, #1 USC Trojans (326), #2 Stanford Cardinal (302), #3 UCLA Bruins (270), and #4 Cal Berkeley Golden Bears (223). Also on the list of top 50 universities are, #27 Long Beach State Beach (47) and #38 UC Irvine Anteaters (33). Referencing a differing source, OlympStats (as of 2017),[2] the all-time total number of Olympic athletes from California universities (1668) was nearly triple the amount from the next state, New York (559). The medal count was even more impressive, with California (678) accounting for more than 4 times the Gold medal count than the next state, Texas (157).

Interior of then-Qualcomm Stadium before a SDSU Aztecs football game. The Fresno State–San Diego State football rivalry is an American college football rivalry between the Fresno State Bulldogs football team of California State University, Fresno and San Diego State Aztecs football team of San Diego State University. Both schools are members of the Mountain West Conference. The winner of the game receives the "Old Oil Can" trophy

The Great Heisman State

California has produced the most Heisman Trophy winners. Fifteen winners were born in and played high school football in the Golden State. Additionally, Mater Dei High School has produced 3 Heisman winners; more than any other high school in the country.

Seven Of these winners played collegiately at USC and one each at UCLA, Stanford, Army, Texas, Colorado, Notre Dame, Miami, and Alabama

NCAA Division I members

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

Cal Poly (San Luis Obispo)MustangsSan Luis ObispoBig West
(Big Sky for football)
Cal State BakersfieldRoadrunnersBakersfieldBig West
Cal State FullertonTitansFullertonBig West
Cal State NorthridgeMatadorsNorthridgeBig West
CaliforniaGolden BearsBerkeleyPac-12FBS
California BaptistLancersRiversideWAC
Fresno StateBulldogsFresnoMountain WestFBS
Long Beach StateThe BeachLong BeachBig West
Loyola MarymountLionsLos AngelesWCC
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
UC DavisAggiesDavisBig West
(Big Sky for football)
UC IrvineAnteatersIrvineBig West
UC RiversideHighlandersRiversideBig West
UC San DiegoTritonsSan DiegoBig West
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[3] and 1984 Summer Olympics.[4] Squaw Valley, California hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics.[5] 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:

San Diego will host the 2023 World Lacrosse Championship in men's field lacrosse, with San Diego State's Snapdragon Stadium as the main venue and the University of San Diego's Torero Stadium, plus various fields at both universities, also hosting matches.

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.


California has also long been a hub for motorsports and auto racing. The city of Long Beach, as part of the IndyCar Series, hosts the Long Beach Grand Prix every year in the month of April. The race that take place in the streets of downtown Long Beach is the longest running major street race held in North America.[6] 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 (originally named the California Speedway) and at the 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.


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, Collin Morikawa, 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.

Mixed Martial Arts

California is widely regarded as the "mecca of MMA" for being the birthplace of the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), Strikeforce MMA, the WEC (World Extreme Cagefighting), among other prominent MMA promotion orgs, and also for the quality and quantity of MMA fighters born or bred there. Bruce Lee, a California native, is considered one of the pioneering figures in the development of MMA.

Not only is California a hotbed for producing native-born MMA fighters, but it also draws many elite athletes from around the world with level of training/gyms. California is home to many of the most successful and historic professional MMA gyms: AKA, Alliance MMA, Team Alpha Male, Black House (MMA), Kings MMA, Lion's Den (original), RVCA Training Center, Skrap Pack-Cesar Gracie Fight Team).

Countless of Champions in the sport of MMA are California born or bred, or have their fight training in California.


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 bowl riding and vert competitions there.


The California State Games, a statewide Olympics-like sport event, take place in California every year. The United States Olympic Committee governs this event.[7]

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

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

Future venues in italics.

Rose Bowl[8]Pasadena92,542FootballUCLA Bruins; Rose Bowl Game1922
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum[9][10]Los Angeles77,500FootballUSC Trojans1923
San Diego Stadium
(demolished in 2021)
San Diego71,294Multi-purposeSan Diego Chargers (1967–2016),
San Diego Padres (1969–2003),
San Diego State Aztecs (1967–2019);
Holiday Bowl
SoFi StadiumInglewood70,240Multi-purposeLos Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams2020
Candlestick Park
(demolished in 2015)
San Francisco70,207Multi-purposeSan Francisco 49ers (1971-2013), San Francisco Giants (1960-1999)1960
Levi's StadiumSanta Clara68,500FootballSan Francisco 49ers, (2014–present)2014
RingCentral ColiseumOakland63,026Multi-purposeOakland Athletics1966
California Memorial StadiumBerkeley62,717FootballCalifornia Golden Bears1923
Kezar Stadium (original)
(demolished in 1989)
San Francisco59,924FootballSan Francisco Dons (1925–1951, 1959–1971),
San Francisco 49ers (1946–1970),
Oakland Raiders (1960)
Dodger Stadium[11]Los Angeles56,000BaseballLos Angeles Dodgers1962
Stanford StadiumStanford50,000FootballStanford Cardinal1921; 2006
Angel Stadium of Anaheim[12]Anaheim45,050BaseballLos Angeles Angels1966
Petco Park[13]San Diego42,445BaseballSan Diego Padres; Holiday Bowl2004
Oracle ParkSan Francisco41,503BaseballSan Francisco Giants;
Foster Farms Bowl
Valley Children's StadiumFresno41,031FootballFresno State Bulldogs1980
Snapdragon StadiumSan Diego35,000FootballSan Diego State Aztecs, San Diego Wave FC; San Diego Legion (in 2023)2022
CEFCU StadiumSan Jose30,456FootballSan Jose State Spartans1933
Dignity Health Sports ParkCarson27,000SoccerLA Galaxy,
Los Angeles Wildcats,
San Diego State Aztecs (2020–2021)
Banc of California StadiumLos Angeles22,000SoccerLos Angeles FC,
Angel City FC
Hornet StadiumSacramento21,650FootballSacramento State Hornets1969
Railyards StadiumSacramento21,000SoccerSacramento Republic FC (MLS, TBD)2023
Hughes StadiumSacramento20,311Multi-purpose1928
Oakland ArenaOakland19,596Arena1966 ArenaLos Angeles18,997ArenaLos Angeles Clippers,
Los Angeles Lakers,
Los Angeles Kings,
Los Angeles Sparks
SAP Center at San JoseSan Jose18,543ArenaSan Jose Sharks
San Jose Barracuda
Bay Area Panthers
Honda CenterAnaheim18,211ArenaAnaheim Ducks1993
Chase CenterSan Francisco18,064ArenaGolden State Warriors2019
PayPal ParkSan Jose18,000SoccerSan Jose Earthquakes2015
Intuit DomeInglewood18,000ArenaLos Angeles Clippers (in 2024)2024
Kia 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
Sutter Health ParkWest Sacramento14,011BaseballSacramento River Cats2000
Pauley PavilionLos Angeles13,800ArenaUCLA Bruins1965
Cow PalaceDaly City12,953Arena1941
Chukchansi ParkFresno12,500Baseball / soccerFresno Grizzlies, Fresno FC (2018–2020)2002
Viejas ArenaSan Diego12,414ArenaSan Diego State Aztecs1997
Haas PavilionBerkeley11,858ArenaCalifornia Golden Bears1933
Long Beach ArenaLong Beach11,719Arena1962
Heart Health ParkSacramento11,442SoccerSacramento Republic FC
Selland ArenaFresno11,544Arena1966
Stockton ArenaStockton11,100ArenaStockton Heat
Stockton Kings
Toyota ArenaOntario10,832ArenaOntario 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, Angel City FC (NWSL Challenge Cup matches)1992
Mechanics Bank ArenaBakersfield9,333ArenaBakersfield Condors1998
Dignity Health Sports Park (tennis)Carson9,000Tennis2004
Walter PyramidLong Beach8,500ArenaLong Beach State Beach1994
Indian Wells Tennis Garden Stadium 2Indian Wells8,000TennisIndian Wells Masters2014
The Arena at the Anaheim Convention CenterAnaheim7,500Arena1967
The Pavilion at ARCDavis7,650ArenaUC Davis Aggies1977
Maples PavilionStanford7,233ArenaStanford Cardinal1969; 2004
Stevens StadiumSanta Clara7,000SoccerSanta Clara Broncos1962
Torero StadiumSan Diego6,000Football / soccerSan Diego Toreros, San Diego Legion, San Diego Loyal SC, San Diego Wave FC (2022 only)1961
Alex G. Spanos CenterStockton6,100ArenaPacific Tigers1981
Bren Events CenterIrvine6,000ArenaUC Irvine Anteaters1984
UC Santa Barbara Events CenterSanta Barbara6,000ArenaUC Santa Barbara Gauchos1979
San Jose State Event CenterSan Jose5,000ArenaSan Jose State Spartans1989
Los Angeles Tennis CenterLos Angeles5,800TennisUCLA Bruins1984
Jenny Craig PavilionSan Diego5,500ArenaSan Diego Toreros1992
Laney College Football StadiumOakland5,500Football / soccerLaney Eagles, Oakland Roots SC1966 (?)
The Sobrato CenterSan Francisco5,300ArenaSan Francisco Dons1974
RIMACSan Diego5,000ArenaUC San Diego Tritons1992
Titan GymFullerton5,000ArenaCal State Fullerton Titans1964
Coussoulis ArenaSan Bernardino5,000ArenaCal State San Bernardino Coyotes1995
Kezar PavilionSan Francisco5,000Arena1924
Orange PavilionSan Bernardino5,000Arena
Leavey CenterSanta Clara5,000ArenaSanta Clara Broncos1974

See also


  1. "Super Bowl Coaches - History".
  2. "USA Olympians and Their Colleges". 21 September 2017.
  3. 1932 Summer Olympics, International Olympic Committee website.
  4. 1984 Summer Olympics, International Olympic Committee website.
  5. 1960 Winter Olympics, International Olympic Committee website.
  6. Peltz, James F. (April 7, 2019). "Jim Michaelian steers the Long Beach Grand Prix with a steady hand". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  7. Official site of the California State Games
  8. "History". Rose Bowl Stadium. Rose Bowl Stadium. Retrieved 28 November 2014.
  9. – Press Release Distribution. "". Retrieved 2013-05-12.
  10. Archived 2008-09-15 at the Wayback Machine
  11. "". Retrieved 2013-05-12.
  12. "". Retrieved 2013-05-12.
  13. "". 2008-09-28. Retrieved 2013-05-12.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.