Sports in California

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Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, host of the 1932 Summer Olympics and 1984 Summer Olympics, and future host of the 2028 Summer Olympics. The "Olympic Gateway" arch and male and female statues at the entrance to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California LCCN2013631630.tif
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, host of the 1932 Summer Olympics and 1984 Summer Olympics, and future host of the 2028 Summer Olympics.

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. Rose Bowl, panorama.jpg
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 Qualcomm Interior.jpg
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) Mustangs San Luis Obispo Big West
(Big Sky for football)
Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners Bakersfield Big West
Cal State Fullerton Titans Fullerton Big West
Cal State Northridge Matadors Northridge Big West
California Golden Bears Berkeley Pac-12 FBS
California Baptist Lancers Riverside WAC
Fresno State Bulldogs Fresno Mountain West FBS
Long Beach State The Beach Long Beach Big West
Loyola Marymount Lions Los Angeles WCC
Pacific Tigers Stockton WCC
Pepperdine Waves Malibu WCC
Sacramento State Hornets Sacramento Big Sky FCS
Saint Mary's Gaels Moraga WCC
San Diego Toreros San Diego WCC
San Diego State Aztecs San Diego Mountain West FBS
San Francisco Dons San Francisco WCC
San Jose State Spartans San Jose Mountain West FBS
Santa Clara Broncos Santa Clara WCC
Stanford Cardinal Stanford Pac-12 FBS
UC Davis Aggies Davis Big West
(Big Sky for football)
UC Irvine Anteaters Irvine Big West
UC Riverside Highlanders Riverside Big West
UC San Diego Tritons San Diego Big West
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos Santa Barbara Big West
UCLA Bruins Los Angeles Pac-12 FBS
USC Trojans Los Angeles Pac-12 FBS

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.


Laguna Seca Raceway The Corkscrew.jpg
Laguna Seca Raceway

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 nearMonterey 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.[ citation needed ]

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] Pasadena 92,542Football UCLA Bruins; Rose Bowl Game 1922
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum [9] [10] Los Angeles77,500Football USC Trojans 1923
San Diego Stadium
(demolished in 2021)
San Diego 71,294Multi-purpose San Diego Chargers (1967–2016),
San Diego Padres (1969–2003),
San Diego State Aztecs (1967–2019);
Holiday Bowl
SoFi Stadium Inglewood 70,240Multi-purpose Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams 2020
Candlestick Park
(demolished in 2015)
San Francisco70,207Multi-purpose San Francisco 49ers (1971-2013), San Francisco Giants (1960-1999)1960
Levi's Stadium Santa Clara 68,500Football San Francisco 49ers, (2014–present)2014
RingCentral Coliseum Oakland 63,026Multi-purpose Oakland Athletics 1966
California Memorial Stadium Berkeley 62,717Football California Golden Bears 1923
Kezar Stadium (original)
(demolished in 1989)
San Francisco59,924Football San Francisco Dons (1925–1951, 1959–1971),
San Francisco 49ers (1946–1970),
Oakland Raiders (1960)
Dodger Stadium [11] Los Angeles56,000Baseball Los Angeles Dodgers 1962
Stanford Stadium Stanford 50,000Football Stanford Cardinal 1921; 2006
Angel Stadium of Anaheim [12] Anaheim 45,050Baseball Los Angeles Angels 1966
Petco Park [13] San Diego 42,445Baseball San Diego Padres; Holiday Bowl 2004
Oracle Park San Francisco41,503Baseball San Francisco Giants;
Foster Farms Bowl
Valley Children's Stadium Fresno 41,031Football Fresno State Bulldogs 1980
Snapdragon Stadium San Diego35,000Football San Diego State Aztecs, San Diego Wave FC; San Diego Legion (in 2023)2022
CEFCU Stadium San Jose 30,456Football San Jose State Spartans 1933
Dignity Health Sports Park Carson 27,000Soccer LA Galaxy,
Los Angeles Wildcats,
San Diego State Aztecs (2020–2021)
Banc of California Stadium Los Angeles22,000Soccer Los Angeles FC,
Angel City FC
Hornet Stadium Sacramento 21,650Football Sacramento State Hornets 1969
Railyards Stadium Sacramento 21,000Soccer Sacramento Republic FC (MLS, TBD)2023
Hughes Stadium Sacramento 20,311Multi-purpose1928
Oakland Arena Oakland 19,596Arena1966 Arena Los Angeles18,997Arena Los Angeles Clippers,
Los Angeles Lakers,
Los Angeles Kings,
Los Angeles Sparks
SAP Center at San Jose San Jose 18,543Arena San Jose Sharks
San Jose Barracuda
Bay Area Panthers
Honda Center Anaheim 18,211Arena Anaheim Ducks 1993
Chase Center San Francisco18,064Arena Golden State Warriors 2019
PayPal Park San Jose 18,000Soccer San Jose Earthquakes 2015
Intuit Dome Inglewood 18,000Arena Los Angeles Clippers (in 2024)2024
Kia Forum Inglewood 17,505Arena1967
Golden 1 Center Sacramento 17,500Arena Sacramento Kings 2016
Sleep Train Arena Sacramento 17,317Arena Sacramento Kings (1988–2016)1988
Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena
(demolished in 2016)
Los Angeles16,161Arena1959
Indian Wells Tennis Garden Stadium 1 Indian Wells 16,100Tennis Indian Wells Masters 2000
Save Mart Center Fresno 15,544Arena Fresno State Bulldogs 2003
Pechanga Arena San Diego 14,500Arena San Diego Gulls
San Diego Sockers
Sutter Health Park West Sacramento 14,011Baseball Sacramento River Cats 2000
Pauley Pavilion Los Angeles13,800Arena UCLA Bruins 1965
Cow Palace Daly City 12,953Arena1941
Chukchansi Park Fresno 12,500Baseball / soccer Fresno Grizzlies, Fresno FC (2018–2020)2002
Viejas Arena San Diego 12,414Arena San Diego State Aztecs 1997
Haas Pavilion Berkeley 11,858Arena California Golden Bears 1933
Long Beach Arena Long Beach 11,719Arena1962
Heart Health Park Sacramento 11,442Soccer Sacramento Republic FC
Selland Arena Fresno 11,544Arena1966
Stockton Arena Stockton 11,100Arena Stockton Heat
Stockton Kings
Toyota Arena Ontario 10,832Arena Ontario Clippers, Ontario Reign, Ontario Fury 2008
Galen Center Los Angeles10,258Arena USC Trojans 2006
Kezar Stadium (current)San Francisco10,000SoccerMany teams, most recently San Francisco Deltas (2017)1990
Titan Stadium Fullerton 10,000Soccer Cal State Fullerton Titans, California United FC, Angel City FC (NWSL Challenge Cup matches)1992
Mechanics Bank Arena Bakersfield 9,333Arena Bakersfield Condors 1998
Dignity Health Sports Park (tennis) Carson 9,000Tennis2004
Walter Pyramid Long Beach 8,500Arena Long Beach State Beach 1994
Indian Wells Tennis Garden Stadium 2 Indian Wells 8,000Tennis Indian Wells Masters 2014
The Arena at the Anaheim Convention Center Anaheim 7,500Arena1967
The Pavilion at ARC Davis 7,650Arena UC Davis Aggies 1977
Maples Pavilion Stanford 7,233Arena Stanford Cardinal 1969; 2004
Stevens Stadium Santa Clara 7,000Soccer Santa Clara Broncos 1962
Torero Stadium San Diego 6,000Football / soccer San Diego Toreros, San Diego Legion, San Diego Loyal SC, San Diego Wave FC (2022 only)1961
Alex G. Spanos Center Stockton 6,100Arena Pacific Tigers 1981
Bren Events Center Irvine 6,000Arena UC Irvine Anteaters 1984
UC Santa Barbara Events Center Santa Barbara 6,000Arena UC Santa Barbara Gauchos 1979
San Jose State Event Center San Jose 5,000Arena San Jose State Spartans 1989
Los Angeles Tennis Center Los Angeles 5,800Tennis UCLA Bruins 1984
Jenny Craig Pavilion San Diego 5,500Arena San Diego Toreros 1992
Laney College Football Stadium Oakland 5,500Football / soccer Laney Eagles, Oakland Roots SC 1966 (?)
The Sobrato Center San Francisco 5,300Arena San Francisco Dons 1974
RIMAC San Diego 5,000Arena UC San Diego Tritons 1992
Titan Gym Fullerton 5,000Arena Cal State Fullerton Titans 1964
Coussoulis Arena San Bernardino 5,000Arena Cal State San Bernardino Coyotes 1995
Kezar Pavilion San Francisco 5,000Arena1924
Orange Pavilion San Bernardino 5,000Arena
Leavey Center Santa Clara 5,000Arena Santa Clara Broncos 1974

See also

Related Research Articles

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum</span> Stadium in Los Angeles, California, USA

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rose Bowl (stadium)</span> Outdoor athletic stadium in Pasadena, California, United States

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Stanford Stadium</span> College stadium located in Stanford, California

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">2028 Summer Olympics</span> Multi-sport event in and around Los Angeles, California, US

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sports in Los Angeles</span> Competitive physical activities in the Los Angeles metropolitan area

The Greater Los Angeles area is home to many professional and collegiate sports teams and has hosted many national and international sporting events. The metropolitan area has twelve major league professional teams: the Los Angeles Lakers, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Los Angeles Rams, the Los Angeles Clippers, the Los Angeles Angels, LA Galaxy, Los Angeles FC, the Los Angeles Kings, the Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Sparks, the Anaheim Ducks, and Angel City FC of the National Women's Soccer League. The Los Angeles metropolitan area is home to nine universities whose teams compete in various NCAA Division I level sports, most notably the UCLA Bruins and USC Trojans. Between them, these Los Angeles area sports teams have won a combined 105 championship titles. Los Angeles area colleges have produced upwards of 200 national championship teams.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sports in Orange County, California</span>

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The Trinity League is a high school athletic conference in Southern California, United States. In 2019 the Trinity League was named by MaxPreps as the toughest high school football league in the United States. It is part of the CIF Southern Section.

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The 1961 UC Santa Barbara Gauchos football team represented University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) during the 1961 NCAA College Division football season.

The 1960 UC Santa Barbara Gauchos football team represented University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) during the 1960 NCAA College Division football season.

The 1959 UC Santa Barbara Gauchos football team represented University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) during the 1959 NCAA College Division football season.

The 1956 UC Santa Barbara Gauchos football team represented Santa Barbara College during the 1956 NCAA College Division football season.


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