Sports Anaheim: Explore Orange County's Athletic Epicenter
With a MLB team and a championship pro hockey league, Anaheim has a competitive edge when it comes to an enriching sporting scene. It's no surprise that Sports Anaheim took home top honors from the Sports Events & Tourism Association (Sports ETA) this year, its fourth such consecutive designation.
Named the Sports Organization of the Year among cities with a population over 500,000, Visit Anaheim's sports service division was celebrated by judges for bringing a quality and quantity of events ranging from Olympic governing bodies of sports to collegiate leagues.
“It starts out from the destination itself — we have everything sports organizers are looking for,” says Roy Edmondson, CSEE, CTA, Vice President Sports Anaheim. “We have great weather, we have great access as far as roads and airports and proximity to LA and San Diego. We have a great hotel package, … dining, shopping and all those things. [Sports event] participants usually have a decent amount of time outside of their events, so they like to go to places where their people want to go, where they have things to do while they’re not participating. We check off all those boxes.”
From the NCAA West Regional tournament at the Honda Center earlier this year to seasonal games played by the Angels and Ducks, Anaheim is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to welcoming athletic participants, conference attendees and sports fans alike. Edmondson explains that Anaheim's diverse attractions, sunny climate and proximity to nearby day-trip destinations only enhance its appeal.
But the city also offers plenty of ways for avid sports enthusiasts to get a taste of the local athletic scene:
- Root for the Home Team: With two pro teams, Anaheim is bursting with hometown pride. Get into the competitive spirit by cheering on the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. The Western Conference team, led by captain Ryan Getzlaf, takes to the ice at the Honda Center every year from October to June. During the spring and summer months, the Los Angeles Angels are the talk of the town as they vie for the American League championship title at Angel Stadium.
- Catch a Special Sporting Event: Throughout the year, Honda Center also hosts visiting games like the August match-up between the USA Men’s National Team and international rival Spain. Other popular recurring events include the Harlem Globetrotters exhibition team and Stars on Ice figure skating show featuring elite performers and past Olympic athletes. Upcoming events can be found online at hondacenter.com.
- Take a Tour: Those dying to go behind the scenes can take a tour of Angel Stadium, exploring the ballpark from a brand-new perspective. The 75-minute public tours take place March through September, with a private tour upgrade available year-round with advance scheduling. Visit areas closed to the general public, like the Angels dugout, broadcast booth and an opportunity to step onto the field.