Sports in California

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International sports events[edit]

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.

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

Professional sports[edit]


California has over twenty major professional sports franchises, far more than any other US state. The San Francisco Bay Area has nine major-league teams spread amongst three cities: San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose. Although it is home to ten major-league franchises, the Greater Los Angeles Area is the largest metropolitan area without a team in the National Football League. San Diego has two major-league teams, and Sacramento has one.

Club Sport League
Oakland Raiders American football National Football League
San Diego Chargers American football National Football League
San Francisco 49ers American football National Football League
Sacramento Mountain Lions American football United Football League
San Jose SaberCats Arena football Arena Football League
Los Angeles KISS Arena football Arena football League
Los Angeles Dodgers Baseball Major League Baseball
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Baseball Major League Baseball
Oakland Athletics Baseball Major League Baseball
San Diego Padres Baseball Major League Baseball
San Francisco Giants Baseball Major League Baseball
Golden State Warriors Basketball National Basketball Association
Los Angeles Clippers Basketball National Basketball Association
Los Angeles Lakers Basketball National Basketball Association
Sacramento Kings Basketball National Basketball Association
Los Angeles Sparks Basketball Women's National Basketball Association
Anaheim Ducks Ice hockey National Hockey League
Los Angeles Kings Ice hockey National Hockey League
San Jose Sharks Ice hockey National Hockey League
C.D. Chivas USA Soccer Major League Soccer
Los Angeles Galaxy Soccer Major League Soccer
San Jose Earthquakes Soccer Major League Soccer
San Diego Sockers Soccer Professional Arena Soccer League

College sports[edit]

Home to some of most prominent universities in the United States, California has long had many respected collegiate sports programs. In particular, the athletic programs of the University of Southern California, University of California, Berkeley, UCLA and Stanford University (all of which are members of the Pacific-12 Conference) 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 Div 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 Pacific Life Holiday Bowl (San Diego), the Emerald Bowl (San Francisco), and the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl (San Diego).

The Great Heisman State[edit]

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

Local sports[edit]

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.


The California State Games, a state-wide 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. The NASCAR Sprint Cup series holds 3 races in California, two at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana and one at Infineon Raceway, formerly Sears Point Raceway. The IRL Indycar series competes every April in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, through the streets of downtown Long Beach. The IRL also holds an event at Infineon. 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 Infineon Raceway in Sonoma. The AMA Supercross Series holds several events in the state in cities such as Anaheim, San Francisco, and San Diego.


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[edit]