Ask the Expert: Why LA is the Sports Capital of the World | meetL.A.

Ask the Expert: Why LA is the Sports Capital of the World

Los Angeles is quickly becoming the Sports Capital of the World, thanks in large part to the work of the Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission (LASEC), the City's designated organization to seek, host, promote, and retain major sporting and entertainment events. These events--like the recent NBA and NHL All-Star games--positively impact the local economy by attracting visitors to the city and giving them a reason to stay longer and invest in local businesses of all types. LASEC has been working diligently since 1995 to build up Los Angeles' reputation as a sports mecca, and they've been on a hot streak, having recently won bids for the MLB All-Star Game in 2020, Super Bowl LVI in 2022, the College Football Playoff National Championship Game in 2023, and selected as a candidate host city for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. 

We sat down with Kathryn Schloessman (pictured above), President of the Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission, to discuss the bidding process and what makes Los Angeles a premiere destination for all things sports.

What is the process of bidding on a sporting event for Los Angeles?

The bidding process is very involved and includes the following steps:

  • First, there is a Request for Proposal (RFP) that is issued by the organizing body to destinations they are considering for hosting. The RFP provides a snapshot view of the event including the essential requirements needed from the host city as well as information about the positive impacts – both social and economic –  that hosting the event will deliver.
  • Next, we form a Bid Committee, usually comprised of the LASEC, Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, the host venue(s) and others to put together our proposal. The proposal includes a vision of what the overall event would look like, specific information on the various hotels, venues and facitilites best-suited for hosting the event, and information on marketing, promotional and other support that Los Angeles is committed to providing.

As you can imagine, RFPs are incredibly detailed and packed with information. For example, the RFP for the Super Bowl was 92 pages long!

What makes Los Angeles the ideal choice for large-scale sporting events?

Los Angeles is an ideal choice for so many reasons. L.A. is the most experienced, versatile, diverse and exciting major event host city in the world. We are a ‘plug-and-play’ destination because our infrastructure stands at the ready to host any major event, where so many other cities have to build that foundation from scratch. We have everything ready to go, from our incredible state-of-the-art venues and iconic stadiums to the premier global gateway that is Los Angeles International Airport and our rapidly improving public transit system.

We boast a growing inventory of world-class hotels that can accommodate an influx of visitors. We have an array of unique venues for activations, parties and hosted events that major brands and sponsors can utilize. And we have a dynamic, thriving fan base who love sports and bring a lot of enthusiasm when it comes to seeing these events in-person. Add to that our near perfect weather and the unrivaled access to celebrities, talent and media that comes with being in the epicenter of the entertainment industry, and you have a perfect storm of reasons for these organizations to choose L.A.!

What is the biggest challenge in preparing for these large events?

One of our biggest challenges in preparing for these events is getting the word out about the multitude of ways members of the community can participate. Amidst all the things happening in Los Angeles, it can be difficult to grab somebody’s attention, especially if an event is several years away. We always want to make sure the resounding event benefits – social, cultural and economic – as well as opportunities for participation are clearly communicated to fans and L.A. residents.

How has the sports industry grown in LA the past 5 years?

Well, Los Angeles was unable to put forth a bid for the 2019 and 2020 Super Bowls. For example, we didn’t even have an NFL team a few years ago. That all changed when the NFL owners voted to allow the Rams to relocate to L.A. in 2016. When Rams owner Stan Kroenke announced he would build the Los Angeles Stadium and Entertainment District at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, we knew it would be an instant game-changer for Los Angeles. Since then, our target list of events has grown exponentially; the new 70,000-seat stadium will have the state-of-the-art technology required to host these mega events, and that allowed us to bid on (and win) events like the Super Bowl and the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Los Angeles has also recently added another new event venue – the 22,000-seat Banc of California Stadium – while two other iconic venues are investing significantly in upgrades and renovations: STAPLES Center and the LA Memorial Coliseum. The future of L.A.’s sports landscape is brighter than it has ever been, and we're excited to be part of it.

What is one event that you want to bring to Los Angeles?

In the last three years, we have proudly secured several ‘bucket-list’ events for Los Angeles. Fortunately for L.A., it’s an unprecedented starting lineup that runs the gamut of every major sport including 2017 U.S. Amateur (Golf); 2018 NBA All-Star Game; 2020 MLB All-Star Game; 2022 Super Bowl; 2023 College Football Playoff National Championship; 2023 U.S. Open at LA Country Club (one we coveted for a long time); and the 2026 FIFA World Cup which will be played in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Finally, the Summer Olympics are headed here in 2028, which our friends at LA 2028 bid on and secured.

For the future, we want to work to bring some of these major events back to Los Angeles; more Super Bowls, more College Football Playoff National Championships and more All-Star Games!