UPDATE (Oct. 27,2018, 5:22 p.m.): When the Dodgers outlasted the Red Sox 3-2 in 18 innings Saturday morning, they guaranteed that Los Angeles would indeed play host to a super sports equinox on Sunday. Congrats to LA — and our sympathies to Angelenos who must drive somewhere during the equinox.
The city of Los Angeles can’t feel great about the Dodgers’ World Series chances right now, as the team needs to win four of the next five against the Boston Red Sox to seal its first title in 30 years. However, we have good news for you, Los Angeles. The city is only one Dodgers win from making another kind of history: The super sports equinox. If the Dodgers win just one of the next two games at home and force a Game 5, teams representing the city in all four major North American sports will be playing on the same day. And although World Series titles come and go, the super equinox has only happened once before in all of sports history — and LA’s super equinox would come with all its teams at home, which has never happened before.
But before we get to all that, allow us to fill in a little background info. A sports equinox is a day when all four major U.S. sports leagues — NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB1 — play at least one game on the same day. It used to be exceedingly rare: Before 2015, there had only been 14 sports equinoxes ever, since it was difficult to find a Sunday or Monday (when NFL teams would be playing) late enough in the year to catch the start of the NBA season but early enough to overlap the end of the World Series.
But it’s been getting more and more common with the advent of things like Thursday Night Football and an earlier start to the NBA schedule. Since 2015, there has been a sports equinox every single year, with the potential for two in 2018. We’ve already seen one this year — back on Thursday, Oct. 18, when Game 5 of the ALCS coincided with Broncos-Cardinals, plus 12 other NBA and NHL games.
The sports equinox isn’t as rare these days
Dates on which all four major U.S. sports leagues (MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL) played at least one game
|number of GAMES|
|2018||Oct. 28||Sun.||1? (WS Game 5)||12||4||6|
|2018||Oct. 18||Thu.||1 (ALCS Game 5)||1||3||9|
|2017||Oct. 29||Sun.||1 (WS Game 5)||11||7||3|
|2017||Oct. 19||Thu.||1 (NLCS Game 5)||1||3||9|
|2016||Oct. 30||Sun.||1 (WS Game 5)||11||7||8|
|2015||Nov. 1||Sun.||1 (WS Game 5)||12||7||5|
|2010||Nov. 1||Mon.||1 (WS Game 5)||1||3||3|
|2009||Nov. 2||Mon.||1 (WS Game 5)||1||5||3|
|2009||Nov. 1||Sun.||1 (WS Game 4)||12||7||4|
|2001||Nov. 4||Sun.||1 (WS Game 7)||13||7||4|
|1985||Oct. 27||Sun.||1 (WS Game 7)||13||1||5|
|1980||Oct. 19||Sun.||1 (WS Game 5)||13||3||6|
|1980||Oct. 12||Sun.||1 (NLCS Game 5)||13||4||8|
|1979||Oct. 14||Sun.||1 (WS Game 5)||13||3||7|
|1978||Oct. 15||Sun.||1 (WS Game 5)||13||5||5|
|1973||Oct. 21||Sun.||1 (WS Game 7)||12||3||5|
|1973||Oct. 14||Sun.||1 (WS Game 2)||12||3||5|
|1972||Oct. 22||Sun.||1 (WS Game 7)||12||3||5|
|1972||Oct. 15||Sun.||1 (WS Game 2)||12||3||6|
|1971||Oct. 17||Sun.||1 (WS Game 7)||12||3||6|
In case you couldn’t tell, we’re fans of the concept, so the more sports equinoxes, the better as far as we’re concerned. And Sunday’s potential equinox is pretty amazing when you lay it all out: In addition to Game 5 of the World Series, the Rams will play the Packers in football; the Clippers will take the basketball court against the Wizards; and the Kings and Ducks will both be in action on the ice. And while it won’t be recorded in the official FiveThirtyEight sports equinox scrolls, Los Angeles teams will also play two MLS games on Sunday as the Galaxy and LAFC both have matches, though LAFC will be on the road for theirs.
Only once before has one city enjoyed a super sports equinox. That came for Phoenix, Arizona, when, on Nov. 4, 2001, the Cardinals, Suns, Coyotes and Diamondbacks all played on the same day.2 Although three of the four lost, the Diamondbacks won Game 7 of the World Series, so no one in Arizona was too bent out of shape. But that time, the Coyotes were visiting the Carolina Hurricanes, so not all of the games actually happened in Phoenix. This time around, though, the Dodgers, Kings, Clippers, Ducks, Rams and Galaxy would all be playing in the LA metro area on Sunday. As far as we can tell, that’s never happened before in the history of sports equinoxes.
Naturally, it wouldn’t be an LA story without some kind of traffic analysis. So we enlisted Google Maps to help figure out how a superfan could attend at least part of all the super sports equinox games on Sunday.
The Kings game starts first, a 12:30 p.m. PDT puck drop at Staples Center. From there, you’d have to leave after the first period and jump on the 110 south to make it to the LA Coliseum in time to catch the Rams-Packers kickoff at 1:25. Unfortunately, you could only catch a few minutes of that game before having to embark on a 35-minute drive down the 110 south to the StubHub Center in Carson, where you’d miss the beginning of the Galaxy-Dynamo match (which started at 1:30), but at least you’d get to see the second half of action. After that match ends, hop in the car for about 35 minutes on the 91 east to reach Anaheim’s Honda Center, where you have time to pick up a Double-Double before seeing the start of Ducks-Sharks at 5:00 — but no dilly-dallying after that! You’ll need to quickly get back in the car and drive an hour up the 5 north to Chavez Ravine for Game 5 of the World Series. (Since it started at 5:15, you will be arriving with most of the other Dodgers fans — well after 6.) Finally, at some point you’ll drive 15 more minutes from Dodger Stadium back down the 110 south to the Staples Center, where the day started, for Clippers-Wizards, which tipped off at 6:30.
Whew. That’s six games and five sports, with between 2 and 3 hours of total driving time. Of course, these Google Maps estimates may seem optimistic for anyone who’s been in a car in LA and knows that it typically takes two hours to drive 2 or 3 miles. But if you’re intrepid enough to try the 78-mile journey, here’s what all of that looks like on the map:
So while the ordinary old sports equinox might be getting so common that it’s no longer special, these new overlaps in various sports’ seasons should give us even more chances for super sports equinoxes like the one LA might get to experience on Sunday. Now all that’s left is for the Dodgers to actually beat the Red Sox in one of these next few games to make it happen.