There is no doubt that sports play a major role in Southern California. Just how big a role was revealed June 24 when the Los Angeles Sports Council released a study that shows that more than $6.3 billion was generated by the region’s sports industry in 2018.
“Los Angeles has long been looked to as a leader in the sporting industry,” said David Siegel, president and CEO of the Sports Council and Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games. “Having current, accurate data that quantifies the contribution sports make to our local economy is extremely valuable in our partners, teams and the city itself.”
The results were part of the sports council’s Economic Impact Analysis of the Sports Industry in the greater Los Angeles Region, which was released on opening day of the inaugural LA Sports Summit, which took place June 24 and 25 at the Omni Hotel.
The Sports Council commissioned the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation’s Applied Institute of Economics to analyze the contribution of sports to the region, which included jobs supported, taxes generated and more in Los Angeles and Orange counties.
The report said about 34,100 full-time jobs were filled in the sports industry, with an estimated more than $327 million in tax revenues for state and local governments.
“Here in Los Angeles, we know sports are more than just good entertainment,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “They drive our economic dynamism and expand opportunities for Angelenos and families across our region. Our city is one of the world’s truly great sports towns, and this report reaffirms that what happens in our arenas, ballparks, and fields helps us create jobs, attract investment, and stimulate economic growth.”
The Los Angeles region hosts many well-known annual sporting events, such as the Rose Bowl game, Genesis Open golf tournament and LA Marathon that attract thousands of people from around the world. The city is planning to host Super Bowl LVI in 2022, the FIFA World Cup in 2026, and the 2028 Summer Olympics.
The L.A. metropolitan area has two teams in the five major men’s professional sports leagues: Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, the National Hockey League and Major League Soccer.
The Los Angeles Sparks are perennial contenders in the Women’s National Basketball Association.
USC and UCLA provide top-level competition in major college sports and several other area universities compete for national championships on a regular basis.
The region also has plenty of venues for other sporting events such as boxing matches or mixed martial arts bouts, horse racing, beach volleyball and other niche competitions.
And Los Angeles is the rare region that refuses to spend public funds to build sports venues. The last venue built totally on public funds was Angels Stadium in Anaheim, which opened in 1966. The city of Anaheim built the stadium to lure the Angels away from Dodger Stadium and to Anaheim. The Rams also used the facility from 1980 to 1994.
The economic impact of sports on the region will continue to grow once the Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment District Stadium in Inglewood opens in 2020. Not only will that stadium host the Rams and the Chargers, for eight game apiece each season, the stadium also will bid for future Super Bowls and college football and basketball title games.
Since the glory days of Hollywood in the 1930s, Los Angeles has been known as the Entertainment Capital of the World. Nearly 100 years later, Los Angeles also has become the Sports Capital of the World.
ESPYS ARE COMING: One of those annual events on the Los Angeles sports calendar is the ESPY Awards, coming to the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles July 10. Comedian Tracy Morgan will host.
Local athletes will be well represented in the nominations for the awards, which were announced last week.
Rams running back Todd Gurley and defensive lineman Aaron Donald are both nominated for best pro football player. Candace Parker of the L.A. Sparks is nominated for best women’s basketball player and LA Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic is nominated for best men’s soccer player.
The Rams’ Monday Night Football game with the Chefs last November is nominated as one of the best games of 2018. The Rams won that shootout, 54-51.
The ESPYS are given out on one of the worst days for sports of the year. They are handed out the day after the Major League All Star Game is held, when every other league besides Major League Soccer and the WNBA is silent.
ESPN knows it will have the entire sports world watching that night.
NO BOREDOM HERE: The Dodgers are running away with the National League West Division again, leading Colorado by an incredible 13 games after sweeping the Rockies in a demoralizing three-game series over the weekend.
The Rockies were tied with the Dodgers in the ninth inning of all three games. They walked off the field with their heads down in defeat each time after the Dodgers won the game on a walk-off home run by a rookie.
Never had that happened in the annals of Major League Baseball.
On June 21, the Dodgers almost wasted a gem by pitcher Walker Buehler. Buehler gave up only two runs and three hits in nine innings of work while striking out a career high 16.
Yet, the Dodgers were tied 2-2 when he left the mound after the top of the ninth inning. But with two outs in the bottom of the ninth rookie Matt Beaty hit a two-run homer to give the Dodgers a 4-2 win.
The next night, the Dodgers scored a tying run in the eighth inning that forced the game into extra innings. In the 11th inning, rookie outfielder Alex Verdugo sent the fans home happy with a home run into the right field bullpen for a 5-4 victory.
It was Verdugo’s second home run of the night.
The next day, the Rockies took a 2-0 lead into the seventh inning when Chris Taylor came through with a three-run homer to give the Dodgers a short-lived 3-2 lead. The Rockies tied it up in the eighth.
In the bottom of the ninth, with Beaty and Russ Martin on base, Will Smith, who was just recalled from Oklahoma City earlier that morning, came off the bench and reached the right-center field seats with a three-run homer and a 6-3 win.
It was Smith’s second walk-off homer of the season and the sixth game this year the Dodgers have won in walk-off fashion.
In a week that saw the Dodgers lose starting pitcher Rich Hill to an arm injury and key pinch hitter Dave Freese to a knee injury, nothing seems to slow them down.
Shortstop Corey Seager pulled a hamstring earlier this month and Chris Taylor has emerged from a year-long slump and is hitting the way he did in 2017.
The Dodgers seem to thrive in a next man up fashion when someone gets injured and even untested rookies like Smith, Beaty and Kyle Garlick are playing better than could be expected.
Seager and A.J. Pollock will both come off the injured list shortly after the all-star break and manager Dave Roberts is going have to decide what to do with players like Joc Pederson, who has 20 home runs and a .232 batting average, and Kike Hernandez, who has 12 homers and a .214 batting average.
With Austin Barnes only hitting .214 while doing most of the catching, Smith could find himself playing a more critical role in the offense as the season heads into August and September.
The bullpen will continue to be the Dodgers weak point. Starting pitchers have lost only 11 games so far this season, meaning the bullpen has lost 15.
But with the power hitters in the Dodgers lineup, no lead is safe, even if you have a rookie hitting in a tie game in the ninth inning.
City News Service also contributed to this story.
By Don Wanlass