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The country’s most populous state, California, has a rich history of sports, partly because they have so many professional and amateur sports teams. Many of them have been around for many years. Many have been very successful.

Check out the rich array of major league sports teams you can root for but can only bet on if you’re outside California for now.



Los Angeles Rams

The Rams were founded in 1936 as the Cleveland Rams out of Cleveland, Ohio, moved to Los Angeles in 1946, the year after winning the 1945 NFL championship. In 1994, they moved to St. Louis, Missouri, to become the St. Louis Rams. Then, after the 2015 season, they moved back to Los Angeles. They have won two Super Bowls and two NFL championships (pre-1970 AFL-NFL merger). They are the only franchise to win championships representing three cities: Cleveland, Los Angeles, and St. Louis.

Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers entered the AFL in 1960 in Los Angeles before moving to San Diego a year later. The Chargers moved back to Los Angeles in 2017. They have no Super Bowl wins but have one AFL championship pre-AFL-NFL merger.

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers were founded in 1946 in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC). They joined the NFL in 1949 and have become one of the most successful franchises in the league. The 49ers have won five Super Bowl championships and have many records, including playing in the most NFC Championship games (16).

Remember the Oakland Raiders? They played out of Oakland from 1960 to 1981 and again from 1995 to 2019. Between those years, they played in Los Angeles as the LA Raiders from 1982 to 1994. They relocated to Nevada as the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020.


Los Angeles Lakers

They began their long history in 1947 in Minneapolis as the Minneapolis Lakers. They were part of the National Basketball League (NBL) but joined the rival NBA in 1948. The Lakers relocated to Los Angeles in 1960. In 2020, they won their 17th championship, which ties them with their archrival Boston Celtics for the most titles in NBA history.

Golden State Warriors

The Warriors were founded in 1946 in Philadelphia. They moved to the San Francisco Bay area in 1962. They have won 7 championships, the third most, behind the Lakers and the Celtics.

Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers started as a 1970 expansion team in Buffalo as the Buffalo Braves. They moved to San Diego in 1978 and became the San Diego Clippers. In 1984, they moved to Los Angeles and became the Los Angeles Clippers, where they finally started to see some success but have not won a championship yet.

Sacramento Kings

The Kings are the oldest team in the NBA and, as such, have quite the history. In 1923, they began as a semi-professional team in Rochester, New York, as the Rochester Seagrams. In 1945, they joined the National Basketball League as the Rochester Royals, winning their championship in their first season. In 1948, they moved to the Basketball Association with three other teams, which turned into the NBA. In 1957, they moved to Cincinnati, becoming the Cincinnati Royals. In 1972, they relocated to Kansas City, becoming the Kansas City-Omaha Kings. They eventually shortened the name to Kansas City Kings. In 1985, they moved to Sacramento, where they had the most consecutive losing seasons in NBA history (16). They are also in the most prolonged active postseason droughts in the NBA.



San Jose Sharks

Founded in 1991, they were the first NHL team in the Bay area since the California Golden Seals. The Seals were part of the NHL from 1967 to 1976. They relocated to Cleveland in 1976 and merged with the Minnesota North Stars in 1978. Eventually, one of the minority owners of the Seals was allowed to bring an expansion team back to the Bay area and allowed to take a certain number of players from the North Stars to the new club. The Sharks have yet to win a Stanley Cup.

Los Angeles Kings

The Kings were part of the expansion of 1967. In 1988, the Kings traded with the Edmonton Oilers to get their captain, Wayne Gretzky, who helped raise the sport’s popularity in the area. They have won 2 Stanley Cups.

Anaheim Ducks

Ducks were founded in 1993 by the Walt Disney Company as the Might Ducks of Anaheim. The name was inspired by the 1992 Disney movie The Mighty Ducks. When the Ducks were sold to Henry and Susan Samueli, they rebranded them to the Anaheim Ducks in 2006. That was also the year they won their only Stanley Cup Championship.



San Diego Padres

Started in 1969. World Series titles: 0.

Los Angeles Angels

Started in 1961. World Series titles: 1, in 2002. Location: LA with fans from all over the country.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Started in 1883. World Series titles: 7 (first in 1955. Last: 2020). One of the most popular MLB franchises of all time. They relocated from Brooklyn in 1958, where they were the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Oakland Athletics

Starting in 1901, the Oakland A’s relocated from Kansas City in 1968. They have nine World Series titles.

San Francisco Giants

Like the Brooklyn Dodgers, the Giants started in New York in 1883. They began as the New York Gothams but were renamed the New York Giants three years later. They moved to San Francisco in 1958. World Series titles: 8



Along with the professional teams, several in-state college teams have big followings for watching, following, and betting. With so many teams, catching a game in your area is easy, no matter where you are.

College Football

There are 32 college football programs in California (in alphabetic order):

  • Azusa Pacific Cougars football
  • Bakersfield Renegades football
  • Cal Lutheran Kingsmen football
  • Cal Poly Mustangs football
  • Cal State Northridge Matadors football
  • California Golden Bears football
  • Chapman Panthers football
  • Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Stags football
  • Fresno State Bulldogs football
  • Humboldt State Lumberjacks football
  • La Verne Leopards football
  • Loyola Lions football
  • Occidental Tigers football
  • Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens football
  • Redlands Bulldogs football
  • Sacramento State Hornets football
  • Saint Mary’s Gaels football
  • San Diego State Aztecs football
  • San Diego Toreros football
  • San Francisco Dons football
  • San Francisco State Gators football
  • San Jose State Spartans football
  • Santa Clara Broncos football
  • Stanford Cardinal football
  • UC Davis Aggies football
  • UC San Diego Tritons football
  • UCLA Bruins football
  • United States International Gulls football
  • USC Trojans football
  • Whittier Poets football


College Basketball

College basketball is even more prevalent in California. Following are the NCAA div I schools:

  • California Baptist University Lancers
  • Cal Poly State University Mustangs
  • Cal State University, Bakersfield Roadrunners
  • Cal State University, Fullerton Titans
  • Cal State University, Northridge Matadors
  • University of California, Berkey Golden Bears
  • California State University, Fresno Bulldogs
  • California State University, Long Beach State Beach
  • Loyola Marymount University Lions
  • University of the Pacific Tigers
  • Pepperdine University Waves
  • California State University, Sacramento State Hornets
  • Saint Mary’s College of California Gaels
  • University of San Diego Toreros
  • San Diego State University Aztecs
  • University of San Francisco Dons
  • San José State University Spartans
  • Santa Clara University Broncos
  • Stanford University Cardinal
  • University of California, Davis Aggies
  • University of California, Irvine Anteaters
  • University of California, Riverside Highlanders
  • University of California, San Diego Tritons
  • University of California, Santa Barbara Gauchos
  • University of California, Los Angeles Bruins
  • University of Southern California, Trojans and Women of Troy


A recent Supreme Court decision said that each state could decide if they want to allow gambling in their state. With that, many are anticipating that California will legalize sports betting soon. Online betting has been around for over 20 years.


Although we don’t have legalized sports betting in California yet, legislators are pushing to move it forward as soon as possible. Keep checking the legislation to be ready when California can finally bring sports betting to the public.



Not yet. Bettors must wait until at least 2024 before they can work with mobile. Right now, you can bet at the horse track or with daily fantasy sports at tribal casinos.


You can go to the track once you hit 18.


Yes. California has had a long history of horse racing and continues to keep it legal. There are several racing tracks around the state.


Many California voters want to legalize sports betting. They have to find a way to make it agreeable to the tribes that control most of the current betting. Once that is done, there’s no reason not to have legal the industry in California.