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Ready to feel the thrill of victory? To hear the roar of the crowd? To see champion athletes compete? Sports fans are awash in big-league action at the ballparks, stadiums, courts, tracks, and fields of Northern California. Being active speaks to the heart of the California lifestyle, and this state produces more Olympic medalists than any other. From rough-and-tumble NFL games to swift-footed soccer matches and basketball games, discover heart-pounding sports excitement around every corner.
NBA Basketball: Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings
NBA champions in 2015 and 2017, California’s pride and joy are the Golden State Warriors (led by MVP Stephen Curry). Watch them pound the court at Oracle Arena in Oakland. The Sacramento Kings may not have the same stellar record, but their flashy new arena (Golden 1 Center) is the finest in the game.
Major and Minor League Baseball: Batter Up in the Bay Area and Beyond
You can cheer for two MLB teams in the San Francisco area. Bring your glove to ATandT Park to see the San Francisco Giants; this waterfront ballpark is easy on the eyes and offers excellent cuisine. Right across the Bay Bridge, you’ll find the home of the Oakland A’s at the Oakland Coliseum. Prefer minor league action? MiLB teams compete all over Northern California, from Fresno to Sacramento and Stockton to San Jose.
NFL Football: San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders
Bay Area sports fans can also get their kicks at NFL games with two rival teams locked in an alpha dog/underdog rivalry. On top are the San Francisco 49ers, one of the NFL’s most valuable teams. They’ve recently moved into the sparkling new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. Love to cheer for the underdog? Head to the Oakland Coliseum to root for the Oakland Raiders. Be sure to wear all black.
NHL Hockey and MLS Soccer in San Jose
Silicon Valley hosts high-energy National Hockey League games with the San Jose Sharks at the SAP Center in San Jose. Join a boisterous crowd with fun team traditions in the “Shark Tank.” Nearby the San Jose Earthquakes compete in Major League Soccer matches at Avaya Stadium, a sleek modern venue opened in 2015.
Northern California College Sports Teams
California’s college athletes are among the best in the nation. Football and basketball are always the biggest draws, but students also compete in water polo, gymnastics, swimming, tennis, volleyball, and even surfing. Athletes from Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley compete in the Pacific 12 Conference, the major conference on the West Coast. Other colleges with energetic sports programs include San Jose State University, Fresno State University, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, University of the Pacific, University of California, Davis, and University of California, Santa Barbara.
High-Stakes Auto Racing and Horseracing
Get your rumble on with speed-demon auto races in California Wine Country at the Sonoma Raceway. Watch top competitions on the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, and see the world’s longest auto race at Thunderhill Raceway Park. Horseracing takes place throughout the year, moving around the region from track to track. Find races at numerous county fairs and at the famous Golden Gate Fields in Berkeley.
PGA Golf Tournaments and Championship Courses
PGA Golf tournaments often start early in the season to make use of Northern California’s mild weather. The Match Play Championship, the NCPPC, and the Northern California Open are three of the biggest. Players tee off on magnificent courses with gorgeous scenery, such as the world-famous greens at Cypress Point Club and Pebble Beach Golf Links.