The Sport of California – Part 2

Californian sport can appear to be in a state of change and this is certainly true with American Football. In 2015 there was no American football team playing in Los Angeles. By the start of the 2017 season there are now two, the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers. The change in location for these two franchises is based on the agreement that they will be sharing the new Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park from the start of the 2020 season.

Another sell out at Levis Stadium

The perceived benefits of having Los Angeles as a home base has proved too good to resist. The first-class media coverage plus 17 million potential fans has seen these two clubs move into their new homes. It has caused great controversy in San Diego where the Chargers were based. They used to regularly fill their 50,000-seat stadium, so to see them disappear several hours up the coast has proved too much for many die-hard fans. Both the Chargers and the Raiders are now in temporary stadiums until the new facility is built.

The San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders currently also play in the NFL, but from 2020 the Raiders will be moving to a brand new 1.9-billion-dollar domed stadium in Las Vegas. The stability of Football in the area is being carried by the 49ers. The team has been located in the city since they were formed in 1946. They have changed their stadium on a couple of occasions but are now settled in Levis Stadium in Santa Clara. They have won the Super Bowl on five occasions with their last victory coming in the 1994 season. In the 2016 season the average attendance was over 70,000 in a time when the team didn’t even make the end of season play offs.

The iconic Wayne Gretzky

The National Hockey League has three teams based in California playing ice hockey. The Anaheim Ducks, the Los Angeles Kings and the San Jose Sharks all play in the western conference. The league was formed in 1917 and the teams play for the Stanley Cup. Success is rare for the Californian based teams although the Ducks did win it in the 2007 season. The Los Angeles Kings also won the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014 but the profile of the sport in the city was raised in 1988 when they signed the Canadian Wayne Gretzky from the Edmonton Oilers.

He was then the captain of the national side and seen by many as the greatest ice hockey player in the world. During his time with the Kings the side won a divisional title and reached the Stanley Cup final. From that signing the sport has benefited from greater media exposure and is more popular in the city and the rest of the State. As well as the major professional team sports being popular in California there are many other minor sports are just as popular. The State has some of the greatest surfing beaches in the world such as Malibu and Newport Beach. Alpine skiing is available in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Famous world class sportsmen and women from California include the golfer Tiger Woods, the swimmer Mark Spitz, the tennis player Pete Sampras, the sprinter Florence Griffith Joyner, and the diver Greg Louganis. California over the years has proved to be a sportsman’s paradise.