A Sports Fan’s Christmas in Los Angeles
We find ourselves looking ahead to the wonderful time of the year (again)… And not just because your USA trip usually begins in Los Angeles – Christmas is the ideal time to be a sports fan in southern California.
Whether you’re into college football, ice hockey, basketball or the NFL, there’s plenty on offer for sports fans looking for tickets across the holiday period.
Maybe you’ve already planned to be in LA for Christmas or perhaps you need some late inspiration to finally book those flights… whatever your situation is, we have a wall-to-wall sporting itinerary that is sure to get your mouth watering.
It’s important to note there is a lean patch of no sport on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, but you could always find a sports bar and watch some of the sports happening in other cities on those days. Failing that, you could spend some time with your friends and/or family, I suppose.
So without further ado, we’ve compiled…
The ultimate sports itinerary for Christmas in the City of Angels
December 21, TBC: Los Angeles Chargers vs. Oakland Raiders, Dignity Sports Park (NFL)
One team has recently moved to Los Angeles and the other was an LA-based team back in the 80s and 90s (and is about to leave for the bright lights of Vegas!), so there is going to be plenty of split allegiances at this game. As a result, the atmosphere will be insane, with two passionate supporter groups cheering on their teams towards a playoff run.
December 22, 6.30pm: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets, Staples Center (NBA)
Want to pay less than half it would cost to see the Lakers play on Christmas Day? Plan to get into town a few days earlier to give yourself the best chance to see LeBron, Anthony Davis an co. without having to take out a second mortgage? The Nuggets are a good team and will be in the playoff hunt come the pointy end, so tickets for this game will be great value.
December 23, 7pm: Los Angeles Kings vs. St Louis Blues, Staples Center (NHL)
The St Louis Blues are reigning Stanley Cup Champions, but the Kings – a good team in their own right – are playing at home. If you’ve ever contemplated watching an NHL game live in the flesh, this will make for a cracking experience.
December 25, 5pm: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers, Staples Center (NBA)
We know why you’re really here, and it isn’t to see the Anaheim Ducks face the Philly Flyers1. This Christmas Day matchup is going to be one for the ages, with LeBron, AD and the Lakers set to clash with Kawhi, Paul George and the Clippers in an epic cross-town Christmas special. The bad news? It’ll cost you, but how often will this much star power be on the same court outside of an All-Star game? Let me help you out: never.
December 27, 7pm: Anaheim Ducks vs. Vegas Golden Knights, Honda Center (NHL)
Looking to see some quality hockey on a budget after splurging on the Lakers/Clippers game? This is the perfect event for you. NHL hockey is incredible to watch live, AND you can fulfill your Mighty Ducks nostalgia tour all in the same evening!
December 28, 7.30pm: Los Angeles Clippers vs. Utah Jazz, Staples Center (NBA)
Kahwi Leonard, Paul George, Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles… the list of high-profile names taking to the floor for this encounter goes on and on, but the prices don’t. This is one of the best bang-for-buck NBA games you’ll get in Los Angeles considering the star power in the city, so snap these up before the Clippers begin to dominate and prices trend upwards!
December 29, 1.25pm: Los Angeles Rams vs. Arizona Cardinals, LA Memorial Coliseum (NFL)
If you haven’t been to LA Memorial Coliseum for a game of football, then hop to it. The Rams and Chargers will be moving into their brand new digs in Inglewood as early as next season, and while the modern new stadium will be spectacular in its own right, there’s something about watching football in the old Coliseum which was the site of the 1932 Olympics. Talk about picturesque. The best part? Tickets are cheap AND as it’s a game between division rivals, so it will be well worth watching as well!
December 29, 6.30pm: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Dallas Mavericks, Staples Center (NBA)
With big names like LeBron James and Anthony Davis suiting up in the purple and gold, there hasn’t been a more exciting time in the last 5+ years to see the Lakers in action. Who knows how long LeBron has left in the NBA, after all. The added bonus of going to this game is you get to see some of the league’s brightest stars in action; the Mavs’ Luka Doncic was the runaway Rookie of the Year in 2019 while Kristaps Porzingis (traded from the Knicks) is set to return from his knee injury.
Alternative: If you ARE actually in town to see the Ducks play the Flyers in Anaheim, you’re in luck on the 29th. You’ll probably also have to sacrifice the Rams/Cardinals game, but ticket prices are bargain-basement level and the action on the ice will be first class.
December 31, 6pm: Los Angeles Kings vs. Philadelphia Flyers, Staples Center (NHL)
It’s a great time to be a Philadelphia Flyers fan in Los Angeles. Over the Christmas period, they embark on their “western swing”, whereby they play all the west coast teams in one giant road trip. After playing the Ducks two nights earlier, they face the Kings at Staples Center on New Year’s Eve.
January 1, 2pm: Rose Bowl, Rose Bowl (College bowl game)
You simply can’t leave LA without taking in “the granddaddy of them all” – the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. This year, it’ll host the champions of the Pac-12 and Big 10 conferences, so keep an eye on those results to see which teams will be in action. Oh, and make sure you’ve plonked yourself in your seat well before kick-off to enjoy the pregame festivities, which will include a flyover by a B2 Stealth Bomber before the action begins.
Note: if you’re staying in Los Angeles in early January, the games keep coming for both the Lakers and the Clippers. Check out their January schedules here.
Tips for purchasing tickets for Los Angeles at Christmas
- Keep abreast of each team’s results:
Like stocks, buy low, sell high. If you notice that the LA Kings have lost eight straight games, it’s probably the ideal time to buy your tickets. Their value would be lower than tickets sold before the season begins, and much lower than in preseason (when hope was still alive!)
This tip can also work for NFL games; if the team you’re going to has already sewn up a playoff spot, then prices on the last game of the season might be lower due to people wanting to save their money for the playoffs. Conversely, if they’re in a battle to make playoffs, ticket prices might go up – though you’ll likely see a higher standard of football on the day.
- Risk the last minute ticket
Admittedly not everyone is going to have the time, money or pure mental energy to attend 11 sporting events in 10 days – especially in Los Angeles. We suggest picking your non-negotiable events; buy the tickets now and then wait until much closer to the other events to see if ticket prices come down. Often, sellers get desperate in the days leading up to an event and then lower their prices just to get some sort of return.
Be warned, however. If the game is set to be a blockbuster, last minute tickets may end up being more expensive than buying them months out. Your mileage may vary!
- Pick the least sexy games
Understandably, there are going to be some pretty expensive games going on while you’re in Hollywood. Of course, a number of these games (such as the Rose Bowl and the Lakers/Clippers clash) are genuine bucket list items for some and should be treated as such.
But if you’re a casual fan, or not a fan of the Rams, Kings or Lakers (for instance), consider watching the least sexy games available. Tickets to see the Anaheim Ducks are often cheaper than tickets to see the Kings, while the Chargers don’t have the same hype level as the Rams as they aren’t coming off a Super Bowl appearance.
You’ll end up paying a lot of money if you plan on watching the “sexy” teams – and no doubt it’ll be worth every penny – but there are still ways to watch sport in Los Angeles on a budget.
What do you think?
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