Going to watch a game in America, whether it’s baseball, basketball, hockey or something else, is usually at the top of a traveller’s to do list.
There is no doubt that L.A. is big on sport. But where should you go, what game should you see, and when’s the best time to see them? Here’s a quick insight into L.A’s biggest sporting teams, from the world of baseball, basketball, hockey and soccer.
Americans love baseball like the British love football, and luckily L.A. is home to two world famous Major League teams.
With the Dodgers and the Angels based in L.A., you can watch them play at the Dodger Stadium near Downtown L.A. and the Angels Stadium, 40 minutes south of Downtown L.A respectively. The teams have the highest average attendance of all the sporting teams in Los Angeles, with the Dodgers averaging at around 46,000 and the Angels around 37,000.
The pre-season mainly consists of games played outside of California, whereas the final pre-season is played at the beginning of April between the Angels and Dodgers, at either team’s stadium. The regular season then begins, running through to October. The schedules for both the pre-season and regular season tend to be announced a few months before the pre-season begins, with the playoffs being announced in late September.
The playoffs however depend on a number of factors, such as which teams are eliminated as they progress; meaning neither the Dodgers nor Angels could make the playoffs. Therefore, to get a chance to see either team play for definite, attending a game during the team’s pre or regular season would be your best option.
If America had a national sport, basketball would be neck and neck with baseball. Luckily for you Los Angeles is home to two professional teams; the Clippers and the Lakers (the home of world famous player Kobe Bryant).
The Lakers have gone on to become one of the most popular and successful teams in the whole of the U.S., having gained 11 titles in L.A and 16 overall. Both teams play at the Staples Center, with the Lakers gathering average audiences close to 19,000 people; the Clippers audience is slightly larger, attracting just over 19,000 on average.
The pre-season for the NBA occurs during the first few weeks of October; the actual season starts at the end of October, through to the middle of April. The playoffs start shortly after this and continue into mid-June.
The schedules for the pre and regular seasons tend to be announced during the previous July, with the playoffs announced in early April.
The world of Ice Hockey is dominated by two prominent teams in Los Angeles, the Ducks and the Kings. Travellers wishing to immerse themselves in the American fascination with ice hockey can catch the Kings at the Staples Center in Downtown L.A. and the Ducks at the Honda Center; about 40 minutes away from Downtown Los Angeles in Anaheim.
The Honda Center is located quite close to Disneyland, and both teams attract a sizeable audience on average; with the Ducks bringing in just fewer than 16,000 and the Kings attracting just over 18,000. The pre-season for the NHL takes place during mid to late September, with the actual season taking place between the start of October, until mid-April. Shortly after this the playoffs begin, lasting until the middle of June.
The schedules for the pre and regular NHL seasons are announced during the previous July, with the playoffs being announced during the April. For a guaranteed chance to see the Kings or the Ducks play, it’s best to attend a pre or regular season game, as they may not make it through during the playoffs.
We call it football, the Americans call it soccer; either way it’s just as fun and exciting, with L.A’s two main soccer teams – Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA.
Chivas and Galaxy can both be found playing at the StubHub Center in Carson, located 20 miles south of Downtown L.A, 10 miles west of Long Beach. However it’s wise to map out how you get here, as public transport is limited from most parts of Los Angeles. Both attract large audiences, with Chivas seeing just over 13,000 attendees and Galaxy witnessing around 23,000 spectators; the third largest attendance for a major team in L.A. David Beckham turned out for the Galaxy between 2007 and 2012 being a major draw to MLS. He’s now left but Robbie Keane and a host of home-grown and foreign players still draw in the crowds.
The game schedule runs from early March until late October – with a few pre-season games before this. Playoffs begin in late October, lasting until late November.
Unfortunately there are no NFL teams currently playing in the Los Angeles area. If this is something you absolutely have to see, a two and a half hour drive south of L.A. will take you to San Diego, where you can watch the Chargers at the Qualcomm Stadium. This can also be reached via the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train from Union Station in Downtown L.A.
The pre-season takes place from mid-August until early September, with the regular season taking place between mid-September and early January. The playoffs then take place for the remainder of January. Checking the pre and regular seasons schedule games will get you a better chance of seeing the chargers play, rather than awaiting the playoffs.
There you have it, a few simple tips for when it comes to watching any sport in L.A. It’s also worth noting that tickets for most sporting events can be bought online at places like TicketMaster.