The Best of Los Angeles in 2018: Sports

NBA All-Star, Dodgers 60th anniversary, March Madness, Banc of California Stadium & more

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum peristyle | Photo courtesy of L.A. Coliseum
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An amazing year of Los Angeles sports events includes the NBA All-Star Game, the 60th anniversary of the Dodgers in L.A., March Madness, the grand opening of Banc of California Stadium, the L.A. Marathon, summertime volleyball and basketball tournaments, and the annual showdown between USC and UCLA.

ROSE BOWL GAME (JAN. 1, 2018)

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield is the 20th Heisman Trophy winner to play in a Rose Bowl Game. | Photo courtesy of Rose Bowl Game, Facebook

The College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game took place at the iconic Rose Bowl Stadium on Jan. 1, 2018. One of the highlights of the annual Tournament of Roses in Pasadena, the game featured the No. 2 CFP-ranked Oklahoma Sooners vs. the No. 3 CFP-ranked Georgia Bulldogs. The Dawgs won 54-48 in double overtime with a 27-yard run by Sony Michel, shortly after Lorenzo Carter blocked the Sooners' field goal attempt.

Known as the “The Granddaddy of Them All” for being the oldest bowl game, the Rose Bowl Game was first played in 1902, and has been played annually since 1916. Over the years, this college football classic has showcased 19 Heisman Trophy winners, produced 29 national champions, featured 211 consensus All-Americans and honored 117 college football legends by inducting them into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame.

NBA All-Star Game (Feb. 18, 2018)

Los Angeles is hosting NBA All-Star for a record sixth time on Sunday, Feb. 18. The 67th annual game will take place at STAPLES Center, home of the Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers. L.A. previously hosted NBA All-Star in 2011, 2004, 1983, 1972 and 1963. This will be the third All-Star Game at STAPLES Center, which hosted in 2011 and 2004. The 2018 All-Star Game will be the first without a matchup between the Eastern and Western Conferences. In the new format, two captains (LeBron James and Stephen Curry) drafted the All-Star teams from the pool of players voted as starters and reserves without regard for conference affiliation. James and Curry are the All-Star starters from each conference that received the most fan votes in his conference.

NBA All-Star on-court events will tip off on Friday, Feb. 16 at STAPLES Center with the Rising Stars Challenge, featuring the league's top rookies and second-year players. On Feb. 17, All-Star Saturday Night will feature current NBA players showcasing their skills in competitions such as the Skills Challenge, the Three-Point Contest and the Slam Dunk Contest. The weekend concludes on Sunday with the NBA All-Star Game.

In partnership with AEG, the Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission (LASEC) and the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (LATCB), the NBA will host several events for fans of all ages at venues throughout the city, including the Los Angeles Convention Center and L.A. LIVE. These events, including NBA All-Star Practice, the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game and the NBA Development League All-Star Game, will feature interactive programming bringing fans closer to NBA and WNBA players and legends.

AIR + STYLE LOS ANGELES (Mar. 3-4, 2018)

The 2018 Air + Style Los Angeles is taking place at historic Exposition Park in Downtown L.A. on Saturday and Sunday, March 3-4. Curated by Olympic champion Shaun White, Air + Style Los Angeles will feature the world’s most elite winter athletes competing alongside some of the largest and most current music artists. After L.A., Air + Style will be held in Sydney, Australia - it will be the first time the event is taking place in the Southern Hemisphere. The main attraction is a “Big Air” snowboarding competition taking place atop a 16-story ski jump. This all-ages event combines competition, giant art displays, fashion, technology and live performances by Phoenix, Zedd, Phantogram, GRiZ, Cut Copy and many more. Ticketholders will have the opportunity to learn how to snowboard like Olympic-level athletes, play music, interact with the latest technology, create art and sample foods from around the world. For ticket info, visit the Air + Style website.

Los Angeles Dodgers 60th Anniversary (March-September 2018)

The Dodgers celebrate their 22nd National League Pennant
The Dodgers celebrate their 22nd National League Pennant | Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers will celebrate their 60th anniversary season since coming to L.A. in 1958. The 2018 season begins on Thursday, March 29 when the Dodgers host their archrivals, the San Francisco Giants for a four-game homestand. For more information and tickets, visit www.ladodgers.com.

Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon (MARCH 18, 2018)

On Sunday, March 18, runners from all 50 states and more than 60 countries will set out from Downtown L.A. to Santa Monica in the annual Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon. The 2017 L.A. Marathon will be the eighth running of the iconic Stadium to the Sea course, which takes more than 25,000 runners from Dodger Stadium to the Pacific Ocean. Runners will pass many of L.A.’s world‐famous landmarks along the way, including Walt Disney Concert Hall, TCL Chinese Theatre, the Sunset Strip, Rodeo Drive and the Santa Monica Pier.

NCAA West Regional (March 22 & 24, 2018)

STAPLES Center entrance
Photo courtesy of STAPLES Center/Bernstein Associates

NCAA® March Madness is coming to Los Angeles! Hosted by Pepperdine University, the 2018 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship West Regional is taking place March 22 & 24 at STAPLES Center in Downtown L.A. One team will leave Los Angeles as champion of the West Regional and a berth in the 2018 NCAA Men’s Final Four®!

BANC OF CALIFORNIA STADIUM OPENS (April 29, 2018)

Rendering of Banc of California Stadium
Banc of California Stadium | Rendering courtesy of LAFC

The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) will begin its inaugural season on Sunday, March 4 against the Seattle Sounders. LAFC will open its new home, the $350-million Banc of California Stadium, versus the Sounders at 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 29. Located on the former site of the L.A. Sports Arena in Exposition Park, the 22,000-seat Banc of California Stadium is the first open-air stadium built in the city in over 30 years. The state of the art venue will boast amenities such as every seat within 135 feet of the pitch, the closest seats only 12 feet away from the touchline, the steepest seating bowl in Major League Soccer (34 degrees), and an 86,000 square-foot field of natural Bermuda grass. During the L.A. 2028 Summer Olympics, the stadium will host men's and women's soccer matches.

INTERNATIONAL SURF FESTIVAL (Aug. 1-5, 2018)

Now in its 56th year, the International Surf Festival promotes four South Bay Beach Cities: Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach and Torrance. Hosted this year by the City of Redondo Beach with participants from ages 8 to 80, the festival features three signature events: the Judge Taplin Lifeguard Medley Relay, the Dwight Crum Pier-to-Pier Swim, and the Charlie Saikley 6-Man Volleyball Tournament. Other highlights include a surfing contest, bodysurfing contest, beach run, paddleboard races, dory race, and youth events. The festival has hosted numerous international lifeguard teams, including teams from Victoria, Australia.

NIKE 3ON3 (Aug. 4-5, 2018)

Nike Basketball 3ON3 Tournament dunk contest
Photo courtesy of Nike Basketball 3ON3 Tournament, Facebook

The Nike Basketball 3ON3 Tournament returns to the streets of L.A. LIVE in Downtown L.A. on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 4-5. Nike 3ON3 features a fun-filled weekend of basketball, entertainment, food, giveaways and more. All skill levels are invited to compete in the tournament, from “ballers” in the Elite Division to Youth, Wheelchair and Special Olympics divisions.

Since its inaugural event in 2009, the Nike Basketball 3ON3 Tournament has grown to become one of the largest 3ON3 street basketball tournaments and fan fests in Los Angeles. Annual participation in the tournament exceeds 1,500 teams, 5,000 players and 25,000 spectators, with participants and spectators coming from all over the country.

MANHATTAN BEACH OPEN (AUG. 16-19, 2018)

Now in its 59th year, the world-famous Manhattan Beach Open is the longest running, continuous tournament in beach volleyball. Every summer, the most talented men and women in the sport gather at the birthplace of beach volleyball to compete for a share of the prize purse and to have their names enshrined on the historic Manhattan Beach Pier. An official stop of the AVP Tour, the Manhattan Beach Open will take place August 16-19 and feature a full festival village, MBO Legend’s match, kid’s clinic, athlete signings, movie night, interactive games and the annual MBO Walk of Fame Pier Ceremony. The Manhattan Beach Open is a free event and takes place just south of the pier.

USC VS. UCLA - Rose Bowl Stadium (Nov. 17, 2018)

Yoofi Quansah of the USC Trojans
Photo courtesy of USC Trojans, Facebook

One of the most storied rivalries in all of college sports is renewed once again when the USC Trojans face off against the UCLA Bruins at Rose Bowl Stadium. On even numbered years, the Rose Bowl hosts the rivalry game between the Trojans and the Bruins, alternating with Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The winner of the USC-UCLA game takes possession of the Victory Bell, a 295-pound brass bell from a Southern Pacific railroad locomotive. The Trojans have defeated the Bruins three years in a row and currently hold the trophy. USC leads the overall series, 47–31–7.

The crosstown rivalry includes some of the greatest college football players in history, and one of the all-time great football games, the 1967 “Game of the Century,” when No. 4 USC defeated No. 1 UCLA 21-20 and went on to win the National Championship.