9 Los Angeles Sports Venues Starring in Movies & TV Shows
With world renowned TIFF and the Rio Olympics just behind us, it isn’t hard to remember that the City of Angels is one where film and sports have many times met.
From Dodger Stadium to the Staples Center, L.A. is filled with world-class athletic venues, virtually all of which have appeared onscreen. And with roundtrip flights from Vancouver to LA for under $300, you can hop on a plane and jet off to watch a game in one of these stadiums before Baseball and Football season ends and as Basketball and Hockey kicks off!
Check out Discover Los Angeles’s top 9 iconic athletic venues and the movies and television shows in which they’ve appeared.
STAPLES CENTER – “ENTOURAGE”
Located at L.A. LIVE in Downtown L.A., STAPLES Center is a versatile venue that is home to four professional sports teams (Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Kings, Los Angeles Sparks), has hosted the Grammy Awards 13 times, as well as countless other high-profile concerts and sports events. The AEG-owned arena, which spans 950,000 square feet, opened its doors in October 1999 and has been a favorite of location scouts ever since.
The HBO series Entourage shot four episodes at STAPLES Center, including Season 3’s “Less Than 30,” in which Vinnie Chase (Adrian Grenier) is gifted with courtside seats to a Lakers game courtesy of his new agent, Amanda Daniels (Carla Gugino), as a birthday present. The venue was also the site of Michael Jackson’s televised public memorial service on July 7, 2009.
LOS ANGELES MEMORIAL COLISEUM – “FULL HOUSE”
Named in honor of World War I veterans, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is the first stadium to host two Summer Olympic Games, in 1932 and 1984. The 93,607-seat stadium has been renovated several times over the years and today serves as the home of the University of Southern California (USC) Trojans football team. The Coliseum is also the temporary home to the Los Angeles Rams in the 2016-2018 seasons. Designated a National Historic Landmark and added to the National Register of Historic Places in July 1984, the Coliseum has been immortalized countless times on screen and is easily one of the most recognizable sports stadiums in the world.
In the Season 2 episode of Full House titled “Beach Boy Bingo,” the Tanner family memorably attends a Beach Boys concert at the Coliseum and gets to sing “Barbara Ann” with the group onstage. The Coliseum was also where Dean Pritchard (Jeremy Piven) bribes Student Council President Megan Huang (Sara Tanaka) in order to get her to revoke the temporary status of the Alpha Epsilon Omega fraternity in the 2003 comedy Old School.
DODGER STADIUM – “MODERN FAMILY”
The home of L.A.’s beloved Major League Baseball team, Dodger Stadium is no stranger to the big or small screen. The 56,000-seat venue, which opened to the public on April 10, 1962, has appeared in everything from Elvis Presley’s Spinout (1966) to the 2007 action hit Transformers and the 2011 sports drama Moneyball. In the Season 1 episode of Modern Family titled “Up All Night,” Javier (Benjamin Bratt) memorably takes Manny (Rico Rodriguez) and Jay (Ed O’Neill) to an empty Dodger Stadium to hit some balls in the middle of the night. The venue’s expansive parking lot, which boasts space for a whopping 16,000 cars, was featured in both The Fast and the Furious and Furious 7, as well as countless other movies.
One filming that took place at Dodger Stadium is particularly notable as it ended up exonerating a murder suspect. Juan Catalan was arrested for a killing that took place on May 12, 2003, despite his claims of an airtight alibi – he was at a Dodger game that day. Catalan sat in jail for more than five months, until his lawyer got hold of some raw footage of the Season 4 episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm titled, “The Car Pool Lane,” which was filmed at the stadium on the same day as the murder. Sure enough, Catalan was visible in the footage and he was freed from jail.
Los Angeles Athletic Club (LAAC) – “MAD MEN”
Long before members-only establishments like Soho House attracted socialites and executives from all parts of L.A., there was the Los Angeles Athletic Club (LAAC).
Upon opening their spectacular Beaux-Arts clubhouse at the corner of Olive and 7th Street in 1912, the LAAC was surrounded by the rising metropolis that L.A. would become. In the 1920s and 30s, the LAAC was the center of activity for stars of the silver screen like Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Rudolph Valentino and other prominent figures of the time; Charlie Chaplin lived there for years. Other famous visitors included Jack London, William Randolph Hearst and George S. Patton.
When it was constructed, the Los Angeles Athletic Club building had the unusual distinction of being the first in Southern California to have an upstairs swimming pool. The pool is one of its most popular attractions, thanks to a couple episodes of Mad Men that were filmed there. Olympic athletes have actually practiced in the Olympic-sized pool.
JACKIE ROBINSON STADIUM – “NEVER BEEN KISSED”
The home stadium of the UCLA Bruins baseball team is named in honor of one of the school’s most famous alumni, Jackie Robinson. The baseball great attended the university from 1939 to 1941 and became the first student to letter in four sports in a single year. He was also the first African American to play for the major leagues since the 1800s. The 1,820-seat stadium that bears his name was constructed in 1981, thanks to a large donation from one of Robinson’s classmates, philanthropist Hoyt Pardee.
In the 1999 rom-com Never Been Kissed, Josie Geller (Drew Barrymore, who was at the 2015 Toronto International film festival to promote Miss You Already) famously waits on the pitcher’s mound for her first real kiss from the man of her dreams, Sam Coulson (Michael Vartan).
THE FORUM – “BEVERLY HILLS, 90210”
The circular indoor arena known as The Forum is most famous for serving as the home of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Kings from 1967 to 1999. The 17,500-seat venue, which was originally constructed in 1967, also hosted the 1984 Olympic basketball games and the Big West Conference men’s basketball tournament from 1983 to 1988. After STAPLES Center was built in 1999 and became L.A.’s main major sports arena, The Forum was utilized as a special events venue. The arena was later revamped and opened to the public in January 2014.
During its tenure as the Lakers’ home court, The Forum made a memorable appearance in the Season 3 episode of Beverly Hills, 90210 titled “Senior Poll” as the spot where Steve Sanders (Ian Ziering) famously makes a halftime half-court basketball shot, winning $10,000 in the process. The Forum has also been featured in Hannah Montana: The Movie, Space Jam, Bedazzled and Lethal Weapon 3.
ROSE BOWL STADIUM – “CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN”
Originally built in 1922, Rose Bowl Stadium is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, designated a National Historic Landmark, and is the home field of the UCLA Bruins football team. Best known as the home of the namesake football game that climaxes the annual Tournament of Roses in January, the Myron Hunt-designed stadium has also played host to five NFL Super Bowls, the 1984 Olympic Gold Medal soccer match, and the FIFA World Cup and FIFA Women’s World Cup Finals. For non-sports fans, the stadium houses a popular flea market the second Sunday of every month, not to mention playing host to some of the world’s biggest names in music including Jay Z, Beyonce, U2, Coldplay, Eminem, Rihanna, and more.
The Rose Bowl is an oft-used filming location, as well. In the 2003 movie Cheaper by the Dozen, the stadium serves as the home of the Stallions football team, whose head coach is Steve Martin. Brandon (Jason Priestley of TIFF 2015 feature Zoom), Kelly (Jennie Garth) and the rest of the C.U. gang attend a Rolling Stones concert at the famous Pasadena stadium in the Season 5 episode of Beverly Hills, 90210 titled “Rock of Ages.”
POTE FIELD – “JERRY MAGUIRE”
In the closing scene of the 1996 rom-com Jerry Maguire, the film’s titular character, played by Tom Cruise, walks hand-in-hand with his new wife, Dorothy Boyd (Renee Zellweger), and her son, Ray (Jonathan Lipnicki), next to a baseball field where a little league game is taking place. When an errant ball makes its way over the fence and lands in front of the trio, Ray picks it up and tosses it back to the waiting players, greatly impressing sports agent Jerry in the process. The charming sequence took place at Griffith Park’s Pote Field, a baseball diamond that was named in honor of Major League Baseball scout Phil Pote. The same spot was also where Jackie Banning (Charlie Korsmo) plays his final little league game of the season in the 1991 adventure film Hook.
L.A. KINGS VALLEY ICE CENTER – “THE WEDDING RINGER”
Originally known as the Valley Ice Center, this Panorama City rink was taken over in 2010 by new owners Scott Floman and David Serianne and given a facelift. The following year, Floman and Serianne entered into a partnership with the L.A. Kings and the rink was re-dubbed the Los Angeles Kings Valley Ice Center. The site currently serves as the home of Cal State Northridge’s Men’s Hockey team, as well as several youth hockey clubs. The rink is also used as a filming location. In the 2015 comedy The Wedding Ringer, Doug Harris (Josh Gad) pretends to ice climb by posing for photos at the center with Jimmy Callahan (Kevin Hart) and his fellow hired groomsmen.