LA is the Capital of Sports Entertainment
How is Los Angeles a major global center of sports entertainment?
For decades, Los Angeles has been considered the sports and entertainment capital of the world. To that end, in the next 10 years, LA is slated to experience a boom like few regions ever have. Countless important sports players and related brands have arisen from and continue to arise from this area.
The LA-based sports entertainment industry is accustomed to both high investment and revenue; it generates large quantities of media for people’s entertainment. It also creates numerous jobs. Additionally, there has been a high level of investment in recent years into new sports stadiums, plus the hotels and amenities necessary for hosting massive numbers of people in the city. As a result, LA’s sports entertainment scene is famous around the world.
For the foreseeable future or at least the next decade, LA is predicted to continue upward in the sports industry. The last such period of sustained excitement for sports fans was also experienced 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. (LA Times) But this is no coincidence. Many years of focused work by countless entities have led to the city’s success.
According to Discover LA, the current high level of sustained growth in the Southern California city and area is largely thanks to the work of the Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission (LASEC). The article said that:
Los Angeles is quickly becoming the sports capital of the world, thanks in large part to the work of [LASEC], the city’s designated organization to seek, host, promote, and retain major sporting and entertainment events.
In fact, LASEC has been working constantly since 1995 to build up LA’s global recognition and reputation as a sports epicenter. They’ve been doing something right recently, because the city recently won bids for the MLB All-Star Game in 2020, Super Bowl LVI in 2022, the College Football Playoff National Championship Game in 2023, and LA was selected as a candidate host city for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
Los Angeles has hosted seven Super Bowls, only fewer than New Orleans and Miami. The College Football Playoff National Championship Game will be held at the Los Angeles Stadium and Entertainment District at Hollywood Park in Inglewood (SoFi) in January 2023. Some of the biggest games in college football history have been held at the Rose Bowl and the Coliseum, and now SoFi is in the picture.
The U.S. Open, the third of the four major golf championships, will also be held in Los Angeles, in June 2023. (LA Times) A myriad of sports and players come to mind when thinking about LA, including the Rams (NFL), Dodgers (MBL), Lakers (NBA), Raiders (NFL), the Sparks (WNBA), Galaxy (MLS), and Kings (NHL). Across the board of sports, there’s a high level of talent in the players of the area.
As LA Sports Club argues, “No city can boast the star power and firepower that the LA Sports scene can. Do you want superstars? How do the names LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard sound? That’s just in the NBA.” Moreover, Los Angeles is a perfect choice and continues to be chosen for sports events for so many reasons.
Discover LA says that LA is not only the most experienced and diverse but also the most versatile and exciting city to host huge sports and other events, worldwide. They are a “plug-and-play” destination because the infrastructure is always ready to withstand major events, whereas other cities would have to build that from zero. LA boasts amazing art venues, iconic stadiums, a rapidly improving public transit system, and the premier portal that is Los Angeles International Airport.
What is the impact of sports entertainment in the LA region?
Let’s face it; humans are a species that loves competition and excitement, action and fun. Cravings for these things are nowadays often satiated with sports. Los Angeles has long had a booming sports entertainment industry thanks to a large pool of talent, investment, and fame, among other factors. Sports are a huge part of the city’s culture. The resulting economic and social effects are deeply impactful for current residents and for generations to come.
Obviously, this successful industry is extremely economically profitable for the network of companies involved in the area. Sports generated $6.2 billion in economic activity and $327 million in state and local taxes in Los Angeles and Orange counties in 2018 (LA Downtown News). The 2019 report by LAEDC, or LA County Economic Development Corporation, found that the sports entertainment industry in LA is the backbone for an impressive 40,000 jobs. That’s an impressive record and it points to the possibility that people move to the area with hopes of entering the world of sports entertainment, continuing LA’s reputation as a sports capital.
David Siegel, president, and CEO of LA Sports Council, firmly believes that Los Angeles is the headquarters for sports businesses. He said that the priority should be strengthening the sports community. Siegel envisions bringing together the teams, the leagues, the venues, and the collective sports business community to strengthen the greater LA community. (LAEDC)
Several sports teams are taking measures to give back to and uplift their communities. One noteworthy example was also outlined in the LAEDC article. Kevin Demoff, COO of the Rams, reported that the team has been working with the city to provide jobs to small vendors, women, and small minority-owned businesses, plus buying at local stores to put more money back into the community. The Rams are setting a wonderful example, by giving back to small, minority-owned businesses. Because they won the 2022 Super Bowl, many eyes around the world are on them.
“In addition to construction jobs, [there are] thousands of game-day jobs.” The Rams COO explained that many small, local businesses are bringing vitality to the local economy, providing opportunity and greater hope to South LA and the local region. And with 70,000 attendees expected at the big events, you’ll see the foot traffic to help local businesses,” said Demoff (LAEDC).
Furthermore, the new 290-acre SoFi Stadium which Los Angeles recently completed is “possibly the most exciting sports stadium ever built.” The LA Rams’ comeback was a key catalyst for developing the stadium in the first place. The constant innovation, investment, and fresh talent on the scene continue to help LA’s economy and recognition grow, along with the force that is sports entertainment. Thanks to the city’s historical and projected fame, new startups are sprouting up and big companies are investing, bringing funds and employment.
As mentioned before, another aspect of LA’s sports entertainment industry is its effect on society. People make and end friendships over sports, support their favorite players and teams, follow the seasons religiously, and support the industry by purchasing tickets, merchandise, baseball hats, etc.
The city of Los Angeles has been transformed into a sports mecca that influences society, while society’s continued support of the sports entertainment scene there keeps it on a record-breaking track. Also, the use of social media in our globalized world has also skyrocketed LA’s sports teams’ popularity around the world, increasing profits and relevance in pop culture.
Economically, it’s apparent that LA relies on the sports entertainment industry for much revenue and thousands of jobs. Socially, it’s a cycle in which LA’s reputation keeps it gaining popularity and creating sports media. For prospective business owners and investors, it is a potential gold mine.
What are trends related to LA sports entertainment?
In anticipation of the 2028 Olympics, many LA venues are undergoing major renovations, such as the STAPLES Center and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. But LA’s new bragging right is the groundbreaking Stadium at Hollywood Park, SoFi, home to both of the NFL’s Los Angeles teams. The facility seats over 70,000 people, with a capacity for 100,000. It will host the opening and closing Olympic ceremonies (Smartmeetings).
“Los Angeles has also recently added another new event venue – the 22,000-seat Banc of California Stadium – while two other iconic venues are investing.” (Discover LA) Evidently, the trend for LA sports entertainment at the moment is overwhelmingly positive and hopeful. With so many state-of-the-art facilities and stadiums with capacity for tens of thousands, LA looks attractive to prospective mega-events.
Although the shiny, contemporary stadiums are a popular aspect of LA for the sports entertainment community, there are many reasons that sports events and entertainment is trending towards the city of angels. It has a growing choice of five-star hotels which are built to accommodate many guests.
LA boasts a long list of other unique venues for parties and events, which sponsors, major brands, and others are certainly taking advantage of. Plus, major improvements are soon to be completed on the public transportation system: expansion of the metro and the addition of a people-mover to LAX, which is scheduled for completion in 2023. (Smartmeetings)
LA Times says: “With the opening of the Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park as the home of the Rams and Chargers, the re-opening of a refurbished Coliseum 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.”
The city is well-equipped, venue-wise, for a range of various sports teams and events, securing its top spot as a sports entertainment destination. Moreover, recent research by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) analyzed sports’ vital role in job creation in the region.
Michael Keenan, Managing Director, and Sports Practice Leader, talked about some of the trends that they encountered: media broadcast rights, gate revenue from games, naming rights, and branded merchandise, according to LAEDC. Keenan views the financial analysis as a positive; “On a long-term basis I’m bullish on sports.” All in all, the outlook for sports entertainment and everything related in Los Angeles is an encouraging one.
What are the opportunities for small businesses and startups to support this industry?
Organizers estimate that for Super Bowl LVI, there were contracting opportunities available in over 30 different industries. LA is successfully providing a great space and community for small businesses and startups in the industry. Partnering with the NFL, the Super Bowl Business Connect program identifies about 250 companies whose owners are LGBTQ+, minority, female, and veterans.
Then, they are hired to provide goods and services during Super Bowl week, gaining industry exposure and professional experience. This is a program that helps small business owners expand their professional skills, stay up to date on trends, and create lasting connections that lead to subcontracting for the Super Bowl, as well as business after the event. (LASEC)
Additionally, the LA Sports and Entertainment Commission (LASEC) informs that ChampionLA provides events that facilitate the right people and businesses to find each other. These events catapult small restaurants, production companies, hotels, and retail shops to new levels, by connecting them with fantastic opportunities. Said opportunities can give local businesses and their employees another chance, and help the community thrive into the future.
As LASEC says, “Done right, these events can create a legacy that goes well beyond the main stage, creating valuable opportunities across communities to build a stronger Los Angeles that will last for generations. Events provide a significant return on private investment, infusing capital into the Los Angeles economy and creating lasting benefits for our communities.”
Just one event can positively affect any small business owner, who in turn raises up their community. It’s about more than simply growing a startup or small business. Each of these events that help underrepresented business owners have the potential to employ thousands and infuse millions of dollars into the local economy, and they do. Los Angeles has been a poster child in this regard.
In the age of the coronavirus pandemic, these high-profile events are a lifesaver. They assist especially small businesses in recovering from the worst. Many industries were hit hard by the slower business for the past few years, and many have since ramped up production again, but they still have losses from the pandemic.
The hardest hit industries include:
- Accommodations & Hotels
- Restaurants & Food Services
Small, minority and female-owned businesses have been hit especially hard by the pandemic. High-profile sports and entertainment events can help play an important role in the recovery effort. (LASEC)
Interestingly, the sports industry has grown in LA in the past 5 years, despite the challenges. Los Angeles was unable to bid for the 2019 and 2020 Super Bowls. It didn’t even have an NFL team a few years ago, until the NFL owners voted to permit the Rams to move to LA in 2016.
However, since the announcement of SoFi, LA’s target list of events has increased in size aggressively. The state-of-the-art technology which the new 70,000-seat stadium is allowing LA to bid on (and win) events like the Super Bowl and the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. (Discover LA)
Fortunately for LA, they have seen an impressive lineup of essentially every major sport, including the 2017 U.S. Amateur (Golf); 2018 NBA All-Star Game; 2020 MLB All-Star Game; 2022 Super Bowl; 2023 College Football Playoff National Championship; 2023 U.S. Open at LA Country Club (coveted for a long time); and the 2026 FIFA World Cup which will be played in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Finally, the Summer Olympics are headed to the city in 2028. (Discover LA)
The sports entertainment industry in LA is actually very helpful to small businesses and startups. Many resources are available, including the ChampionLA events that we outlined before. Perhaps this is yet another reason that Los Angeles continues to surpass its competition to host large events and in doing so, boost the local economy.
Overall, Los Angeles has grown into its role as the global sport’s epicenter. It has the best facilities to host tens or even hundreds of thousands of guests; stadiums, event centers, hotels, restaurants, public transportation, and more. A high level of investment and planning has gone into the city to allow it to achieve what it has in the sports world. Many people would argue that LA has become the true capital of sports entertainment in the world, due to its community, infrastructure, talent, fan support, and global notoriety.