Sports in the San Francisco Bay Area
The San Francisco Bay Area, which includes the major cities of San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, hosts seven major league sports franchises, as well as several other professional and college sports teams, and hosts other sports events.
- 1 Major league teams
- 2 Minor league professional teams
- 3 College sports
- 4 Other sports
- 5 Recreation
- 6 Defunct or relocated teams
- 7 Stadiums and arenas
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Major league teams
|San Francisco 49ers||Football||1946||National Football League||Levi's Stadium||70,799|
|Oakland Raiders||Football||1960*||National Football League||Oakland Alameda Coliseum||54,613|
|San Francisco Giants||Baseball||1958||Major League Baseball||AT&T Park||41,677|
|Oakland Athletics||Baseball||1968||Major League Baseball||Oakland Alameda Coliseum||21,829|
|San Jose Earthquakes||Soccer||1996||Major League Soccer||Avaya Stadium||20,979|
|Golden State Warriors||Basketball||1962||National Basketball Association||Oracle Arena||19,596|
|San Jose Sharks||Hockey||1991||National Hockey League||SAP Center||16,747|
- The Raiders played in Los Angeles from 1982–1994.
The 49ers have won five Super Bowls (XVI, XIX, XXIII, XXIV, XXIX) and lost one (XLVII). The Raiders have won three Super Bowls (XI, XV, XVIII), and lost two (II, XXXVII).
The Bay Area is home to two Major League Baseball teams. The San Francisco Giants play at AT&T Park and have won eight World Series titles (3 as the San Francisco Giants, 5 as the New York Giants). The Oakland Athletics share the Oakland Coliseum with the Raiders, and the A's have won nine World Series (4 as the Oakland Athletics, 5 as the Philadelphia Athletics). The A's considered relocating to San Jose but were blocked by the Giants. Currently plans call for them to build a 35,000 seat stadium currently referred to as Oakland Ballpark on a site near Laney College.
The 1989 World Series was known as the "Earthquake Series", "Bay Bridge Series", and "Battle of the Bay", as both teams played against each other, and Oakland swept the Giants in a 4-game series. However, the series is probably best known for the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake which struck on the day of Game 3.
San Francisco was ranked #1 in 2012 among America's Best Baseball cities. The study examined which U.S. metro areas have produced the most Major Leaguers since 1920.
Oakland is home of the Golden State Warriors in the NBA, who currently play at the Oracle Arena. The Warriors originally played in Philadelphia, but relocated to San Francisco in 1962 and then to Oakland in 1971. The Warriors are slated to return to San Francisco for the 2019–20 NBA season when the new Chase Center opens in the Mission Bay district. The Warriors have won four NBA Finals since their relocation (1975, 2015, 2017, 2018).
San Jose currently hosts the San Jose Sharks of the National Hockey League. The Sharks currently play at the SAP Center at San Jose. The Sharks began play in 1991, playing their first two seasons at the Cow Palace before moving to their current home in 1993. The Sharks have been Pacific Division champions six times, as well as having won the Presidents' Trophy for the best regular season record in the league in 2009, and the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl as the Western Conference champions in 2016. Though the Sharks have yet to win a Stanley Cup, they made their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 2016.
Beginning in 1996, the San Jose Earthquakes, then known as the San Jose Clash, competed in Major League Soccer, and became the Earthquakes in 1999. The Quakes won MLS Cup 2001 against the Los Angeles Galaxy 2–1, as well as MLS Cup 2003 against the Chicago Fire 4–2. The Quakes then moved to Houston in 2005, and became the Houston Dynamo, but in a fashion similar to the Cleveland Browns move, the Earthquakes name and history stayed in San Jose for a future team. In 2008, the current incarnation of the Earthquakes made its return and subsequently played seven seasons at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara. In March 2015, the Earthquakes opened Avaya Stadium across from San Jose International Airport.
Minor league professional teams
|San Jose Barracuda||Ice hockey||American Hockey League||SAP Center|
|San Jose Giants||Baseball||California League||San Jose Municipal Stadium|
|San Rafael Pacifics||Baseball||Pacific Association||Albert Park|
|Sonoma Stompers||Baseball||Pacific Association||Arnold Field|
|Pittsburg Diamonds||Baseball||Pacific Association||City (Pittsburg) Park Field #1|
|Vallejo Admirals||Baseball||Pacific Association||Wilson Park|
|Martinez Clippers||Baseball||Pacific Association||Joe Dimaggio Field|
The San Jose Giants are a Minor League Baseball team in the Class A - Advanced Northern Division of the California League. They've been a farm team of the San Francisco Giants since 1988 and have played continuously since 1962 under several different names/affiliations. The San Jose Giants have developed more than 190 major league players, including current and former San Francisco Giants such as Buster Posey, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Pablo Sandoval, and Madison Bumgarner.
San Rafael is home to the San Rafael Pacifics, an independent minor league baseball team that play in the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs. The Pacifics play in 1,200 seat Albert Park.
Sonoma is the home to the Sonoma Stompers, an independent minor league baseball team, that plays in the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs. The Stompers play a short season schedule from June through August every summer, with 39 home games at Arnold Field in Sonoma. The Stompers were a part of Professional Baseball History in the summer of 2015 when Sean Conroy, a Stompers pitcher, became the first openly gay professional baseball player. The scorecard and other memorabilia from that game went on display in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York in November 2015. Additionally, the team helped set another record, when Bill "Spaceman" Lee, pitched 5 2/3 innings on Aug. 9, 2014, while yielding six hits and three earned runs in posting Sonoma's victory and breaking his own record as the oldest player to ever win a professional baseball game. In June 2015, the team signed acclaimed slugger Jose Canseco. The 1988 American League MVP recorded a single and a homer and helped spark to victories in his weekend stint.
Palo Alto is home to the Palo Alto Oaks, the oldest continuously-operated, wood-bat, baseball team in the Bay Area. The Oaks played their inaugural season in 1950, making 2017 their 68th consecutive season of baseball.
Amateur men's soccer has been played in San Francisco since 1902 through the San Francisco Soccer Football League. Over 40 teams in 4 divisions play throughout the city between March and November. Premier Division games are played at the 3,500 seat Boxer Stadium. Amateur women's soccer is played on over 30 teams in the Golden Gate Women's Soccer League.
San Francisco Pro-Am Basketball League is an important summer league venue for aspiring players to be discovered by talent scouts. Games are held at the 4,000 seat Kezar Pavilion. Players from all levels participate, with regular appearances by off season NBA professionals.
San Francisco Rush played in the inaugural 2016 PRO Rugby season at Boxer Stadium. The club folded after one season. The San Francisco Golden Gate Rugby team competes in the Pacific Rugby Premiership. In rugby sevens, the Bay Area will host the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens at Avaya Stadium and AT&T Park.
The Bay Area is also well represented in college sports. Six area universities are members of NCAA Division I, the highest level of college sports in the country. Three have football teams and three do not. Bay Area Deportes is the only media outlet in San Francisco Bay Area to fully cover NCAA college sports in Spanish.
All three football-playing schools in the Bay Area are in the Football Bowl Subdivision, the highest level of NCAA college football. The California Golden Bears and Stanford Cardinal compete in the Pac-12 Conference, and the San Jose State Spartans compete in the Mountain West Conference. The Cardinal and Golden Bears are intense rivals, with their football teams competing annually in the Big Game for the Stanford Axe. One of the most famous games in the rivalry is the 1982 edition, when the Golden Bears defeated the Cardinal on a last-second return kickoff known as "The Play".
The three non-football Division I programs in the Bay Area are the San Francisco Dons, located in the city of San Francisco; the Saint Mary's Gaels, from Moraga in the East Bay; and the Santa Clara Broncos, located in Santa Clara. All three are charter members of the West Coast Conference, and consider each other major rivals.
The following table shows the college teams in the Bay Area that average more than 2,000 attendance:
|California Golden Bears football||Berkeley||Memorial Stadium||47,675|
|Stanford Cardinal football||Stanford||Stanford Stadium||47,862|
|San Jose State Spartans football||San Jose||CEFCU Stadium||15,068|
|California Golden Bears men's basketball||Berkeley||Haas Pavilion||8,099|
|Stanford Cardinal men's basketball||Stanford||Maples Pavilion||4,439|
|Saint Mary's Gaels men's basketball||Moraga||McKeon Pavilion||2,788|
The Bay Area was the host for the 2013 America's Cup. The Bay Area has a leading and innovative alternative, outdoor and action sports culture. Examples include mountain biking, Alcatraz triathlon, Team Handball (Olympic Handball), skate boarding/Thrasher Magazine, CrossFit (Santa Cruz) and surfing at well known breaks such as Steamer Lane, Mavericks, Ocean Beach and Bodega Bay.
With an ideal climate for outdoor activities, San Francisco has ample resources and opportunities for amateur and participatory sports and recreation. There are more than 200 miles (320 km) of bicycle paths, lanes and bike routes in the city, and the Embarcadero and Marina Green are favored sites for skateboarding. Extensive public tennis facilities are available in Golden Gate Park and Dolores Park, as well as at smaller neighborhood courts throughout the city. San Francisco residents have often ranked among the fittest in the U.S. Golden Gate Park has miles of paved and unpaved running trails as well as a golf course and disc golf course.
Boating, sailing, windsurfing and kitesurfing are among the popular activities on San Francisco Bay, and the city maintains a yacht harbor in the Marina District. The St. Francis Yacht Club and Golden Gate Yacht Club are located in the Marina Harbor. The South Beach Yacht Club is located next to AT&T Park and Pier 39 has an extensive marina.
Historic Aquatic Park located along the northern San Francisco shore hosts two swimming and rowing clubs. The South End Rowing Club, established in 1873, and the Dolphin Club maintain a friendly rivalry between members. Swimmers can be seen daily braving the typically cold bay waters.
Defunct or relocated teams
From 1995–2008, as well as between 2011–2015, the Bay had the San Jose SaberCats of the Arena Football League, who played at the SAP Center at San Jose. The SaberCats won 3 ArenaBowls (XVI, XVIII, XXI), and lost in another (XXII).
Before the Sharks, the Bay Area had the California Golden Seals, who had been previously named the California Seals and the Oakland Seals. The Seals came into existence in the 1967 NHL expansion. The Seals played at the Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Arena (now Oracle Arena). The Seals later became the Cleveland Barons in 1976 and then merged with the Minnesota North Stars in 1978 (who in turn later became the Dallas Stars). The Golden Seals/Barons franchise is notable as the last franchise in North America's four major leagues to permanently cease operations.
The Sharks can be viewed as an effective successor of the Golden Seals/Barons. In the late 1980s, North Stars majority owners Gordon and George Gund tried to move the team to the Bay Area, but were rebuffed by the NHL. In the meantime, a group led by former Hartford Whalers owner Howard Baldwin sought to bring an expansion team to the Bay Area. The league then brokered a deal which effectively unwound the Barons–North Stars merger. The Gunds sold their share of the North Stars to Baldwin's group in exchange for an expansion team in the Bay Area. The Gunds would be allowed to take half of the North Stars' roster with them, and both the North Stars and the future Sharks would participate as equals in an expansion draft.
On September 20, 2011, the San Francisco Bulls were founded as an expansion team in the ECHL. Beginning play in 2012, the team (based at the Cow Palace) was the farm team of the NHL's San Jose Sharks before folding mid-season on January 27, 2014.
Before the existence of the current San Jose Earthquakes of MLS, a separate San Jose Earthquakes played for the original North American Soccer League, Major Indoor Soccer League, and the Western Soccer Alliance. After they folded, the San Francisco Bay Blackhawks played for the WSA. Eventually, the Blawkhawks became the San Jose Hawks, and folded in 1993.
San Jose Grizzlies were a professional indoor soccer team based in San Jose, California. The team was founded in 1993 as a member of the Continental Indoor Soccer League. After playing in the 1994 and 1995 CISL seasons, the Grizzlies folded following the 1995 season. The team played at San Jose Arena.
FC Gold Pride was a charter member of Women's Professional Soccer, playing alongside the Earthquakes in the league's inaugural 2009 season before moving to Hayward for 2010. Led by Brazilian star Marta, the team had a championship season in 2010, but folded after the season. WPS itself played only one more season before folding. The Bay Area has yet to have a franchise in WPS' effective successor, the current National Women's Soccer League.
San Francisco Deltas was a charter member of North American Soccer League to play at the Kezar Stadium in 2017. The Deltas beat the New York Cosmos 2-0 to win the Soccer Bowl 2017, but folded after the season.
Stadiums and arenas
|Levi's Stadium||Santa Clara||68,500||Football||San Francisco 49ers, San Jose Earthquakes, Foster Farms Bowl||2014|
|Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum||Oakland||63,026||Multi-purpose||Oakland Raiders, Oakland Athletics||1966|
|California Memorial Stadium||Berkeley||62,717||Football||California Golden Bears||1923|
|Stanford Stadium||Stanford||50,000||Football||Stanford Cardinal||1921; 2006|
|AT&T Park||San Francisco||41,503||Baseball||San Francisco Giants; formerly Fight Hunger Bowl||2000|
|CEFCU Stadium||San Jose||30,456||Football||San Jose State Spartans||1933|
|Oracle Arena||Oakland||19,596||Arena||Golden State Warriors||1966|
|SAP Center at San Jose||San Jose||18,543||Arena||San Jose Sharks
San Jose Barracuda
|Avaya Stadium||San Jose||18,000||Soccer||San Jose Earthquakes||2015|
|Chase Center||San Francisco||18,000||Arena||Golden State Warriors||2019 |
|Cow Palace||Daly City||12,953||Arena||1941|
|San Jose Municipal Stadium||San Jose||4,200||Baseball||San Jose Giants
San Jose State Spartans
|Candlestick Park||San Francisco||70,207||Multi-purpose||San Francisco Giants, San Francisco 49ers||1960||2013||Demolished|
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