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21 Feb  

No Matter Which Team Comes Out on Top, Santa Monica Wins

By Bill Doak, General Manager, Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel

Sports teams and athletes in Santa Monica

Jerry West hits golf balls into the Ferris Wheel before the Northern Trust Open (Photo: Fitz Carlile), Ohio State University Rose Bowl Pep Rally at the Santa Monica Pier (Photo: Fitz Carlile), and Santa Monica CVB volunteers at the 13.1 Half Marathon

Do you like to cheer on the Lakers? The Dodgers? The Kings? How about the Clippers? How about your favorite local college team? Well don’t forget about Team Santa Monica! Although we have no pro teams or major universities of our own, our beachside city has established itself as a major league sports destination. With its proximity to LAX and numerous major sports venues, plus its many attractions, perfect weather and reputation for warm hospitality, our city is a desirable and convenient location for visiting athletes and fans alike.

At the Loews Santa Monica Beach, where I’m the General Manager, we provide accommodations for individual athletes and teams from across the sports spectrum. For many clubs, including many of L.A.’s rivals, it’s become a tradition to stay at the Loews. We’re pleased to say that even when Los Angeles is “hostile territory” for a visiting team from the local fans’ perspective, our guests know they can count on us to make them feel right at home.

The same holds true for the thousands of sports enthusiasts who flock to the L.A. area each year. Working with the Pier Restoration Corporation’s Ben Franz-Knight, Santa Monica Visitors Bureau helped entice nearly 40,000 Ohio State and University of Oregon supporters to Santa Monica Pier for pre-Rose Bowl pep rallies. The Pier also played gracious host to 600 University of Texas fans prior to the BCS National Championship Game.

Just days later, a new event brought almost 5,000 out-of-towners to Santa Monica for the debut of the 13.1 Los Angeles Half-Marathon. The Loews served as race headquarters and the shores of Santa Monica Bay provided a scenic start for runners. Then, in February, golf aficionados flocked to our seaside city for the PGA Tour’s Northern Trust Open, which took place in nearby Pacific Palisades. Elite endurance athletes return again in March for the annual L.A. Marathon, hoping to be the first to cross the finish line at Santa Monica Blvd. and Ocean Ave. These events alone are responsible for bringing about 50,000 people to stay in the city’s 37 hotels, eat in its renowned restaurants and shop in its stores. It’s enough to make any Santa Monica stakeholder a sports fan!


  1. Jerry Wang says:

    I left Tehran, Iran in 1978 for Santa Monica College (SMC). After graduating from Cal State Northridge, LMU, and USC, and working for Citi for about 30 years, I now live a block away from the Santa Monica airport which also houses SMC classes.

    Why do I love Santa Monica?

    I ran 10 marathons and when I trained with the LA Leggers on Ocean Ave, whenever I ran by the statue of Saint Monica that faces Wilshire Blvd, I would stop to admire the heart-shaped lawn surrounding her. I would remember how her tears and prayers helped to convert her wayward son, Saint Augustine, who once said “Lord, give me abstinence, but not just yet!”.

    Where could I run and see dolphins, an eagle, and a statue of a Saint and a totem pole? Not to mention the ocean view, sea breeze, and all the other beautiful people out jogging on Saturday mornings. The parking is free and scone/coffee are but a few dollars. My wife and I might spend a few more dollars at the farmers market by the promenade after breakfast.

    The Fourth Street stairs off of San Vincente were fantastic training grounds with mountain view and sea breeze for our hikes down to the Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

    The Santa Monica pier is a super starting point for an all day bike ride to Venice/Muscle Beach, Dock Wailer, Playa Del Rey, Manhattan, Hermosa, and Redondo beaches where we would stop for a seafood lunch and cold beverages. We would stop and watch beautiful people play beach volley ball, get a drink, and some ice cream along the way. The ride toward Gladstones in Malibu is just as enjoyable and relaxing along the bike path by the beach.

    We also used to walk from the Santa Monica pier to the Venice pier and then visit the Venice Canals before walking over to check out octopus and flounders in the Ballona Creek wet lands, which is a resting place for the migratory birds between South America and Alaska. I once even caught a little sand gobie to show my daughter before releasing it unharmed. We would spend the entire afternoon walking the boardwalk as we enjoyed the street performers as well as the skills of the the roller-skaters and roller-bladers by Muscle Beach in Venice. Professional surfers offer surfing lessons right on Santa Monica beach!

    My two nephews and my daughter loved the little UCLA aquarium under the Santa Monica pier where for a donation of a few dollars, we could all go in and spend over an hour touching chestnut cowrie/star fish and observe sharks, octopus, flounders, and numerous sea creatures. We would park in the two hour metered parking just south of the pier and have a ball! We captured some very happy pictures of our 3 year-old nephew Alan running panic-stricken from the incoming surf!

    Santa Monica is where we registered our marriage and Saint Monica’s Parish Community is our church where our daughter was baptized. Our Godson from Germany was delighted to take a picture with our Governator after the 10:30 mass when he visited us a couple of years ago.

    To walk through the Promenade or Brentwood, or Westwood is to savor life and to say the name of the city invokes the name of a Saint which is almost like a prayer (Note, this is not idol worshiping. Just remembering a nice sister from the past).

    Why do I love Santa Monica? I think Santa Monica is Love. It is in the air whenever you are there. Check it out and try it out!

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