When it comes to must-see events in San Francisco, sports events take centre stage. American football, baseball, basketball, ice hockey and soccer, it’s all on offer in the San Francisco Bay Area. And to make sure you sports fans don’t miss any of the action while you’re out there, we’ve put together a rundown of what’s on and when.
American football: San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders
The San Francisco Bay area is home to two National Football League (NFL) teams: the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders. The American football season kicks off in August with pre-season games, and runs all the way through until the Super Bowl in early February. There’s a great rivalry between these two teams, who play each other every four years in the regular season; the eagerly-anticipated ‘Battle of the Bay’ games are some of the best San Francisco sports events, and tickets sell out fast.
The San Francisco 49ers play their home games at the Levi’s stadium over in Santa Clara. Established in 1946, they lay claim to being the city’s first ever major-league sports team. The 49ers played their first NFL game in 1950. As for the Oakland Raiders, they were founded in 1960 and joined the NFL in 1970, having been a part of the American Football League beforehand. They play in the Oakland Alameda Coliseum in Oakland, California.
Baseball: San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics
You’ll find two Major League Baseball teams here in the Bay Area. The season gets going in early April and ends in early October. But if either team makes it into the World Series, you’ll have a few more opportunities to watch them.
The San Francisco’s Giants, who originally played in New York, have won more games than any other team in baseball history. And if you want to catch a home game for yourself, you’ll have to head for AT&T Park. Meanwhile, across the bay, Oakland Athletics (or the Oakland A’s) play in the O.co Coliseum stadium.
Basketball: Golden State Warriors
As for basketball, San Franciscans support the Golden State Warriors, a National Basketball Association (NBA) team based in Oakland. The regular basketball seasons starts off in the last week of October, and finishes in mid-April. But if you can’t get a ticket for a match, the next best thing is to watch them on television in your hotel or down at a local bar.
The Golden State Warriors were first formed in Philadelphia in 1946, and later became the San Francisco Warriors in 1962. By 1971, they’d taken the name of the whole state and relocated to the Oracle Arena, as it’s known today, in Oakland.
Ice hockey: San Jose Sharks
Want to see an ice hockey game while you’re in San Francisco? You’ll find the San Jose Sharks over in San Jose, playing in the SAP Center, a glass pyramid in the heart of Silicon Valley. They’re one of 30 American and Canadian teams in the National Hockey League. The season runs from October to April, followed by the playoff games for the Stanley Cup. And if you go and watch them, look out for their theatrical entrance; it involves a 17-foot shark mouth with flashing red eyes.
Soccer: San Jose Earthquakes
San Jose is also home to the Bay Area’s only Major League Soccer (MLS) team, the San Jose Earthquakes, originally known as the San Jose Clash when they were founded in 1996. The season runs from March through to late October, and they play over in the Avaya Stadium. If you’re lucky enough to go and see a game here, you can expect a fantastic view wherever you’re sitting; it’s got the steepest seat rise of all the MLS stadiums. Oh, and it has the biggest outdoor bar in North America, too!