Column: L.A. will be the center of the sporting universe for the next decade
Los Angeles has long been viewed by many as the sports and entertainment capital of the world, but the city is about to enter a 10-year period few regions have experienced. The last such stretch also was in Los Angeles, from 1984 to 1994, when the city hosted the Summer Olympics, a World Cup and two Super Bowls along with its other big-time events.
With the opening of the Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park (have to get a catchier name before it opens in 2020) as the home of the Rams and Chargers, the re-opening of a refurbished Coliseum this summer for USC and perhaps the opening of a new arena in Inglewood for the Clippers in 2024, Los Angeles will be hosting or in the running to host some of the biggest sports events over the next decade.
While it might be difficult to get excited about events that won’t take place for years, it’s never too early to count the reasons why Los Angeles is taking center stage again.
NCAA Men’s Basketball West Regional, Honda Center, March 28-30, 2019: For the eighth time in its history, the Anaheim venue will host an NCAA men’s basketball event. The arena has undergone several multi-million dollar renovations over the years — some say in attempt to attract an NBA franchise — and has become a favorite destination of the NCAA in March.
NCAA Men’s Basketball West Regional, Staples Center, March 26-28, 2020: While Los Angeles might not have a tournament team this year, it can at least look forward to having back-to-back west regional finals in its backyard. Now if the city can have a team actually play in one.
MLB All-Star Game, Dodger Stadium, July 14, 2020: Anaheim has hosted the MLB All-Star Game twice over the past 30 years (2010 and 1989) but this is the first time Dodger Stadium will host the event since 1980. Los Angeles hosted the event one other time, in 1959 at the Coliseum after the Dodgers had moved from Brooklyn.
College Football Playoff semifinal, Rose Bowl, Jan. 1, 2021: The Rose Bowl game will double as the College Football Playoff semifinal for the third time after hosting the first playoff game in 2015. The Rose Bowl is one of six primary bowls in the College Football Playoff and will host a semifinal game every three years.
Super Bowl LVI, Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park, Feb. 6, 2022: For the first time since Super Bowl XXVII was held at the Rose Bowl in 1993, Los Angeles will host the NFL’s biggest game. The country’s second biggest market was unable to host the event for 21 years — only cities with an NFL team can be awarded a Super Bowl — but figures to be in the regular rotation again. Despite the drought, Los Angeles has hosted seven Super Bowls — Rose Bowl five, Coliseum two — which trails only New Orleans and Miami (10 each).
College Football Playoff National Championship Game, Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park, Jan. 9, 2023: Some of the biggest games in college football history have been held at the Rose Bowl and the Coliseum but the Los Angeles Stadium — which is also vying to host the Pac-12 Championship Game in football, a new bowl and perhaps an annual neutral college football game during the regular season — will enter the mix by hosting the ninth CFP National Championship Game.
College Football Playoff semifinal, Rose Bowl, Jan. 1, 2024: The Rose Bowl’s traditional Pac-12 champion versus Big Ten champion matchup will again take a back seat to a playoff game, the Rose Bowl serving as a semifinal site for the fourth time.
FIFA World Cup, various sites, 2026: The rise of soccer’s popularity in the U.S. and the birth of Major League Soccer can be traced to the 1994 World Cup in the United States. The Rose Bowl was used more than any other venue that year — eight games, including the semifinal, third-place game and final. Los Angeles will again figure prominently in the mix in 2026 with the United States, Canada and Mexico earning a joint bid.
Summer Olympics, various sites, July 21-Aug. 6, 2028: Los Angeles will become the third city — after London and Paris — to host the Summer Olympics three times when the Games return to the Southland for the first time since 1984. The Coliseum will become the first venue to host three Olympics (1932, 1984, 2028) as it will co-host the opening and closing ceremonies along with the Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park.
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