Los Angeles is home to eleven major league professional teams and numerous other college teams across many different sports so it can be hard for people who reside in the state to decide exactly who to root for on game day.
The Greater Los Angeles area has a rich tradition when it comes to sports with the Rose Bowl and Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum being among the most well-known stadiums in the country. The Rose Bowl, for example, is now synonymous with college football as it has hosted the hugely popular annual Rose Bowl Game every year since 1916.
When it comes to actual sports franchises, locals are spoiled for choice. The Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings play in the NHL, the Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams in the NFL, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels in the MLB, the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA, LA Galaxy and Los Angeles FC in the MLS, and Los Angeles Sparks in the WNBA.
That means anyone who uses the PointsBet betting app to place a bet on the latest games involving teams in Los Angeles will always have a range of markets to choose from. By reading a review of the payment options and support available at a specific bookmaker, sportsbook enthusiasts can also ensure they get the best experience possible online.
Success on the field increases local support
Fans have so many options when trying to choose a team to support for the first time when growing up or moving to Los Angeles. And there will be further competition when Angel City joins the National Women’s Soccer League next year, not to mention the plethora of college teams in various sports. So, exactly how do people decide?
Fortunately, the Loyola Marymount University offers annual insights into the teams that are favored every year by Los Angeles residents. The seventh annual survey in 2020 found that the Lakers were the most popular franchise overall with 35% of respondents stating that they followed the successful basketball team.
That’s not surprising considering the Lakers’ multiple high profile NBA titles since the turn of the millennium. After winning three consecutive Championships in 2000, 2001 and 2002, the Lakers added two more in 2009 and 2010. At the time of the poll, the Lakers were also in the midst of another memorable campaign that culminated in a 4-2 victory over the Miami Heat in the best-of-seven playoff final.
MVP Lebron James has done a lot to raise the profile of the team in recent years and it is fair to say that the Lakers is now arguably the most widely known basketball brand in the world. That also means more locals in Los Angeles are likely to choose them as a favored team.
The survey also found LeBron is now the state’s favorite athlete despite only transferring to the Lakers in 2018. “That guy only being here one year and he’s already L.A.’s favorite sports star? That’s pretty amazing,” LMU director Fernando Guerra noted.
The Lakers don’t have it all their own way in the state though. The annual study found the number one team often goes back and forth between the Lakers and the Dodgers, who also enjoyed an incredible year in the MLB in 2020. Like the Lakers, the Dodgers triumphed 4-2, this time over the Tampa Bay Rays to win the World Series for the seventh time.
Forbes estimates that the Dodgers are worth $3.4bn, making them the second most valuable franchise in the whole of the MLB. They also receive strong support from fans in other states and around the world. It is therefore easy to see why with their global appeal, both the Lakers and Dodgers are the go-to franchises for people in Los Angeles.
That trend is also supported by the scale of support, or lack of it, for other sports teams in the states. Only four other teams were able to garner more than 5% of the vote with the Rams the third most popular (7.5%), just ahead of the Clippers (6.4%), Galaxy (6.2%), and Angels (5.3%).
Politics and demographics also have an impact
It also appears that political affiliation and demographics play a role in the teams that people support in the area. The Dodgers, for example, has a support base that is predominantly aged 45 or over and conservative, while the Lakers usually attract younger millennials with a more liberal outlook.
The Dodgers also attract Spanish speakers while the Lakers are more popular with English speakers. This suggests that where residents grow up and the communities that they are part of are a big reason why they favor one particular franchise over another.
For example, the Los Angeles Clippers are only the seventh most popular in the state but when narrowed down to just Los Angeles City, the NFL side jumps into the top three. One team that is not currently as popular is the Chargers, who ranked last across all metrics.
In addition to major sports franchises, Los Angeles is also home to the UCLA Bruins men’s basketball team, which play in the Pac-12 Conference, and the USC Trojans college football team. All of these are strongly supported by locals, and many fans likely follow a few different franchises across several sports at different levels.
Fan favorites are also always changing depending on how teams are currently performing. Back in 2018, for example, the Dodgers were cited as a favorite by 38% of residents compared to 30% for the Lakers. What happens on the field appears to have a direct impact on who people choose to support and how they express it. Guerra says: “Events happen that change our opinion, that impact our behavior.”
At the moment, the Lakers have the edge but that may not be the case in the future if other teams in Los Angeles put forth a compelling case for support through success on the field. One thing is for sure, locals will always have an abundance of teams to choose from.