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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.

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 more Heisman Trophy winners than any other state.


List of winners

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):

Institution Nickname Location Conference Football
Bakersfield Roadrunners Bakersfield Big West
Cal Poly (San Luis Obispo) Mustangs San Luis Obispo Big West
( Big Sky for football)
Cal State Fullerton Titans Fullerton Big West
Cal State Northridge Matadors Northridge Big West
California Golden Bears Berkeley Pac-12
( ACC in 2024)
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
( ACC in 2024)
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
( Big Ten in 2024)
USC Trojans Los Angeles Pac-12
( Big Ten in 2024)

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 hosted 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

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 was a speedway in Fontana and had hosted NASCAR Cup Series racing along with the 2nd-tier Xfinity Series annually. 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 currently holds two races in California, previously at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana (originally named California Speedway), and currently at Sonoma Raceway, formerly Sears Point Raceway. Beginning in 2022, an exhibition race has been held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on a temporary oval at the beginning of the Cup Series season. 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]

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 SoCal teams, even extending to college teams.





NCAA Football



Regional Rivalries

Various rivalries involved two teams from specific metro areas in either Northern or Southern California.

Southern California

Los Angeles and San Diego:


Northern California


Stadiums and arenas

Future venues in italics.

Stadium City Capacity Type Tenants Opened
Rose Bowl [8] Pasadena 92,542 Football UCLA Bruins; Rose Bowl Game 1922
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum [9] [10] Los Angeles 77,500 Football USC Trojans 1923
San Diego Stadium
(demolished in 2021)
San Diego 71,294 Multi-purpose San Diego Chargers (1967–2016)
San Diego Padres (1969–2003)
San Diego State Aztecs (1967–2019)
Holiday Bowl
SoFi Stadium Inglewood 70,240 Multi-purpose Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams 2020
Candlestick Park
(demolished in 2015)
San Francisco 70,207 Multi-purpose San Francisco 49ers (1971–2013)
San Francisco Giants (1960–1999)
Levi's Stadium Santa Clara 68,500 Football San Francisco 49ers 2014
RingCentral Coliseum Oakland 63,026 Multi-purpose Oakland Athletics 1966
California Memorial Stadium Berkeley 62,717 Football California Golden Bears 1923
Kezar Stadium (original)
(demolished in 1989)
San Francisco 59,924 Football San Francisco Dons (1925–1951, 1959–1971)
San Francisco 49ers (1946–1970)
Oakland Raiders (1960)
Dodger Stadium [11] Los Angeles 56,000 Baseball Los Angeles Dodgers 1962
Stanford Stadium Stanford 50,000 Football Stanford Cardinal 1921; 2006
Angel Stadium of Anaheim [12] Anaheim 45,050 Baseball Los Angeles Angels 1966
Petco Park [13] San Diego 39,860 Baseball San Diego Padres; Holiday Bowl 2004
Oracle Park San Francisco 41,503 Baseball San Francisco Giants;
Foster Farms Bowl
Valley Children's Stadium Fresno 41,031 Football Fresno State Bulldogs 1980
Snapdragon Stadium San Diego 35,000 Football San Diego State Aztecs
San Diego FC
San Diego Wave FC
San Diego Legion
CEFCU Stadium San Jose 30,456 Football San Jose State Spartans 1933
Dignity Health Sports Park Carson 27,000 Soccer LA Galaxy, RFC LA 2003
BMO Stadium Los Angeles 22,000 Soccer Los Angeles FC, Angel City FC 2018
Hornet Stadium Sacramento 21,650 Football Sacramento State Hornets 1969
Hughes Stadium Sacramento 20,311 Multi-purpose 1928
Oakland Arena Oakland 19,596 Arena 1966 Arena Los Angeles 18,997 Arena Los Angeles Clippers,
Los Angeles Lakers,
Los Angeles Kings,
Los Angeles Sparks
SAP Center at San Jose San Jose 18,543 Arena San Jose Sharks
San Jose Barracuda
Bay Area Panthers
Honda Center Anaheim 18,211 Arena Anaheim Ducks 1993
Chase Center San Francisco 18,064 Arena Golden State Warriors 2019
PayPal Park San Jose 18,000 Soccer San Jose Earthquakes 2015
Intuit Dome Inglewood 18,000 Arena Los Angeles Clippers (in 2024) 2024
Kia Forum Inglewood 17,505 Arena 1967
Golden 1 Center Sacramento 17,500 Arena Sacramento Kings 2016
Sleep Train Arena Sacramento 17,317 Arena Sacramento Kings (1988–2016) 1988
Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena
(demolished in 2016)
Los Angeles 16,161 Arena USC Trojans basketball (1959–2006)
Los Angeles Lakers (1960–1967)
Los Angeles Clippers (1984–1999)
Indian Wells Tennis Garden Stadium 1 Indian Wells 16,100 Tennis Indian Wells Masters 2000
Save Mart Center Fresno 15,544 Arena Fresno State Bulldogs 2003
Pechanga Arena San Diego 14,500 Arena San Diego Gulls

San Diego Seals
San Diego Strike Force

Sutter Health Park West Sacramento 14,011 Baseball Sacramento River Cats 2000
Pauley Pavilion Los Angeles 13,800 Arena UCLA Bruins 1965
Cow Palace Daly City 12,953 Arena 1941
Chukchansi Park Fresno 12,500 Baseball / soccer Fresno Grizzlies, Fresno FC (2018–2020) 2002
Viejas Arena San Diego 12,414 Arena San Diego State Aztecs 1997
Haas Pavilion Berkeley 11,858 Arena California Golden Bears 1933
Long Beach Arena Long Beach 11,719 Arena 1962
Heart Health Park Sacramento 11,442 Soccer Sacramento Republic FC
Selland Arena Fresno 11,544 Arena 1966
Stockton Arena Stockton 11,100 Arena Stockton Heat
Stockton Kings
Acrisure Arena Thousand Palms 11,000 Arena Coachella Valley Firebirds 2022
Toyota Arena Ontario 10,832 Arena Ontario Clippers (2017–2024)
Ontario Reign (2008–2015)
Ontario Fury
Galen Center Los Angeles 10,258 Arena USC Trojans 2006
Kezar Stadium (current) San Francisco 10,000 Soccer San Francisco City FC 1990
Titan Stadium Fullerton 10,000 Soccer Cal State Fullerton Titans
California United FC
Mechanics Bank Arena Bakersfield 9,333 Arena Bakersfield Condors 1998
Dignity Health Sports Park (tennis) Carson 9,000 Tennis 2004
Walter Pyramid Long Beach 8,500 Arena Long Beach State Beach 1994
Indian Wells Tennis Garden Stadium 2 Indian Wells 8,000 Tennis Indian Wells Masters 2014
Frontwave Arena Oceanside 7,500 Arena San Diego Clippers 2024
The Arena at the Anaheim Convention Center Anaheim 7,500 Arena 1967
The Pavilion at ARC Davis 7,650 Arena UC Davis Aggies 1977
Maples Pavilion Stanford 7,233 Arena Stanford Cardinal 1969; 2004
Stevens Stadium Santa Clara 7,000 Soccer Santa Clara Broncos 1962
Torero Stadium San Diego 6,000 Football / soccer San Diego Toreros 1961
Cardinale Stadium Seaside 6,000 Football / soccer Monterey Bay FC 2022
Alex G. Spanos Center Stockton 6,100 Arena Pacific Tigers 1981
Bren Events Center Irvine 6,000 Arena UC Irvine Anteaters 1984
UC Santa Barbara Events Center Santa Barbara 6,000 Arena UC Santa Barbara Gauchos 1979
San Jose State Event Center San Jose 5,000 Arena San Jose State Spartans 1989
Los Angeles Tennis Center Los Angeles 5,800 Tennis UCLA Bruins 1984
Jenny Craig Pavilion San Diego 5,500 Arena San Diego Toreros 1992
Laney College Football Stadium Oakland 5,500 Football / soccer Laney Eagles, Oakland Roots SC 1966 (?)
The Sobrato Center San Francisco 5,300 Arena San Francisco Dons 1974
RIMAC San Diego 5,000 Arena UC San Diego Tritons 1992
Titan Gym Fullerton 5,000 Arena Cal State Fullerton Titans 1964
Coussoulis Arena San Bernardino 5,000 Arena Cal State San Bernardino Coyotes 1995
Kezar Pavilion San Francisco 5,000 Arena 1924
Orange Pavilion San Bernardino 5,000 Arena
Leavey Center Santa Clara 5,000 Arena Santa Clara Broncos 1974

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. Archived from the original on 30 March 2015. 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.

External links