Sports in Arizona includes professional sports teams, college sports, and individual sports. All four major league sports teams in Arizona are based in the Phoenix metropolitan area.
Arizona is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the Western and the Mountain states. It is the sixth largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico; its other neighboring states are Nevada and California to the west and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California to the south and southwest.
The Phoenix Metropolitan Area – often referred to as the Valley of the Sun, the Salt River Valley, or Metro Phoenix – is a metropolitan area, centered on the city of Phoenix, that includes much of the central part of the U.S. State of Arizona. The United States Office of Management and Budget designates the area as the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), defining it as Maricopa and Pinal counties. As of the Census Bureau's 2017 population estimates, Metro Phoenix had 4,737,270 residents, making it the 11th largest Metropolitan Area in the nation by population. The gross domestic product of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area was $242 billion in 2017, 16th largest amongst metro areas in the United States.
Professional sports teams in Arizona include four major league sports teams, plus minor league and semi-pro teams:
|Arizona Cardinals||American football||National Football League||1898||1 (1947*)|
|Phoenix Suns||Basketball||National Basketball Association||1968||0|
|Arizona Diamondbacks||Baseball||Major League Baseball||1998||1 (2001)|
|Arizona Coyotes||Ice hockey||National Hockey League||1996||0|
|Arizona Rattlers||Indoor football||Indoor Football League||1992||6 (1994, 1997, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017)|
|Phoenix Mercury||Basketball||Women's National Basketball Association||1997||3 (2007, 2009, 2014)|
|Phoenix Rising FC||Soccer||USL Championship||2014||0|
|FC Tucson||Soccer||USL League One||2010||0|
|FC Arizona||Soccer||National Premier Soccer League||2016||0|
|Tucson Roadrunners||Ice hockey||American Hockey League||2016||0|
|Tucson Saguaros||Baseball||Pecos League||2016||1 (2016)|
|Northern Arizona Suns||Basketball||NBA G League||2016||1|
With three state universities and one private university in NCAA Division I, and several community colleges, college sports are also prevalent in Arizona. The intense rivalry between Arizona State University and the University of Arizona predates Arizona's statehood, and is one of the oldest rivalries in the NCAA.The thus aptly named Territorial Cup, first awarded in 1889 and certified as the oldest trophy in college football, is awarded to the winner of the "Duel in the Desert", the annual football game between the two schools. Both UA and ASU are members of the Pac-12 Conference, one of the so-called Power Five conferences in Division I FBS, the top tier of U.S. college football.
NCAA Division I (D-I) is the highest level of intercollegiate athletics sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in the United States. D-I schools include the major collegiate athletic powers, with larger budgets, more elaborate facilities and more athletic scholarships than Divisions II and III as well as many smaller schools committed to the highest level of intercollegiate competition.
The Arizona State Sun Devils are the athletic teams that represent Arizona State University. ASU has nine men's and eleven women's varsity teams competing at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I level as a member of the Pac-12 Conference. The mascot was adopted in 1946; earlier nicknames were the Normals and later, the Bulldogs. The Sun Devil mascot, Sparky, was designed by former Disney illustrator Bert Anthony. ASU's chief rival is the University of Arizona Wildcats, and both universities' athletics departments compete against each other in the State Farm Territorial Cup Series.
The Arizona Wildcats are the athletic teams that represent the University of Arizona, located in Tucson. The Wildcats compete at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I level as a member of the Pac-12 Conference. Arizona's chief intercollegiate rival is the Arizona State Sun Devils, and the two universities' athletic departments compete against each other in multiple sports via the State Farm Territorial Cup Series.
The other two Division I members in Arizona are Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, which plays football in the second-level Division I FCS, and Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, a private school that does not sponsor football.
The Northern Arizona Lumberjacks are the varsity athletic teams representing Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona in intercollegiate athletics. The university sponsors 15 teams including men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country and track & field, men's and women's tennis, women's golf, women's soccer, women's swimming and diving, women's volleyball and football. The Lumberjacks compete in NCAA Division I and are members of the Big Sky Conference with the exception of the women's swimming and diving team which is an affiliate member of the Western Athletic Conference.
Flagstaff is a city in and the county seat of Coconino County in northern Arizona, in the southwestern United States. In 2015, the city's estimated population was 70,320. Flagstaff's combined metropolitan area has an estimated population of 139,097. The city is named after a ponderosa pine flagpole made by a scouting party from Boston to celebrate the United States Centennial on July 4, 1876.
The Grand Canyon Antelopes are the 21 athletic teams representing Grand Canyon University, located in Phoenix, Arizona. Most of the university's athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division I level in the Western Athletic Conference. Men's volleyball competes in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) effective beginning in the 2017-18 academic year. The beach volleyball program competes as an independent.
Arizona also hosts several college football bowl games. The Fiesta Bowl, originally held at Sun Devil Stadium, is now held at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. The Fiesta Bowl has been part of the College Football Playoff (CFP) since its creation for the 2014 season, and is paired with the Peach Bowl in Atlanta as rotating hosts of CFP semifinals. The Fiesta Bowl hosted a CFP semifinal in 2016, and will next host a semifinal in the 2019 season. University of Phoenix Stadium was also home to the 2007 and 2011 BCS National Championship Games and hosted Super Bowl XLII on February 3, 2008. It hosted the state's first Pro Bowl on January 25, 2015, Super Bowl XLIX on February 1, 2015, and the College Football Playoff National Championship on January 11, 2016. The stadium also hosted the Final Four of the 2017 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament and 2024 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament. The Cactus Bowl is currently played in Phoenix at Chase Field. It was first held at Arizona Stadium at the UA campus in Tucson, then moved to Chase Field when it was known as Bank One Ballpark, and then to Sun Devil Stadium before returning to Chase Field in 2015.
In North America, a bowl game is one of a number of post-season college football games that are primarily played by teams belonging to the NCAA's Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). For most of its history, the Division I Bowl Subdivision had avoided using a playoff tournament to determine an annual national champion, which was instead traditionally determined by a vote of sports writers and other non-players. In place of such a playoff, various cities across the United States developed their own regional festivals featuring post-season college football games. Prior to 2002, bowl game statistics were not included in players' career totals and the games were mostly considered to be exhibition games involving a payout to participating teams. Despite attempts to establish a permanent system to determine the FBS national champion on the field, various bowl games continue to be held because of the vested economic interests entrenched in them.
The Fiesta Bowl is an American college football bowl game played annually in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Between its origination in 1971 and 2006, the game was hosted in Tempe, Arizona at Sun Devil Stadium. Since 2007, it has been held at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Sun Devil Stadium is an outdoor football stadium on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, United States. It is home to the Arizona State Sun Devils football team of the Pac-12 Conference. The stadium's seating capacity as of 2018 is 53,599, reduced from a peak of 74,865 in 1989. The natural grass playing surface within the stadium was named Frank Kush Field in 1996 in honor of the former coach of the Sun Devil football team. The stadium underwent a five-year, $304-million renovation that was completed in August 2019. It was the only major football stadium in the Phoenix metropolitan area until the construction of State Farm Stadium in Glendale in 2006.
Due to its numerous golf courses, Arizona is home to several stops on the PGA Tour, most notably the Phoenix Open, held at the TPC of Scottsdale, and the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Marana.
The PGA Tour is the organizer of the main professional golf tours played primarily by men in the United States and North America. It organizes most of the events on the flagship annual series of tournaments also known as the PGA Tour, as well as PGA Tour Champions and the Korn Ferry Tour, as well as PGA Tour Canada, PGA Tour Latinoamérica, and PGA Tour China. The PGA Tour is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, a suburb of Jacksonville.
The Phoenix Open is a professional golf tournament on the PGA Tour, held in late January/early February at the Tournament Players Club (TPC) of Scottsdale, Arizona.
Auto racing is another sport known in the state. Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale is home to NASCAR race weekends twice a year. Firebird International Raceway near Chandler is home to drag racing, off-road racing and other motorsport events.
Arizona is a popular location for Major League Baseball spring training, as it is the site of the Cactus League. The only other location for spring training is in Florida with the Grapefruit League. The Los Angeles Dodgers have a new spring training facility in Phoenix owned by Glendale which opened in 2009, making them the 14th team in Arizona. Spring training has been somewhat of a tradition in Arizona since 1947 (i.e. the Cleveland Indians in Tucson until 1991, and the San Diego Padres in Yuma until 1992) despite the fact that the state did not have its own major league team until the state was awarded the Diamondbacks in Phoenix as an expansion team. The state hosts the following teams:
Besides being home to spring training, Arizona is also home to the Arizona Fall League. The Fall League was founded in 1992 and is a minor league baseball league designed for players to refine their skills and perform in game settings in front of major and minor league baseball scouts and team executives, who are in attendance at almost every game. The league got exposure when Michael Jordan started his time in baseball with the Scottsdale Scorpions.
Chase Field, formerly Bank One Ballpark, is a baseball park located in Downtown Phoenix, Arizona. It is the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, the city's Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise. It opened in 1998, in time for the Diamondbacks' first game as an expansion team. Chase Field was the first stadium built in the United States with a retractable roof over a natural-grass playing surface, which was replaced by synthetic turf in 2019.
The Cheez-It Bowl is an NCAA FBS college football bowl game that has been played in the state of Arizona since 1989.
Cramton Bowl is a 25,000-seat stadium located in Montgomery, Alabama. Cramton Bowl opened in 1922 as a baseball stadium and has been home to Major League Baseball spring training and to minor league baseball. Today, however, its primary use is for American football.
Kino Sports Complex is a multiple-use sports complex in Tucson, Arizona. The Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago White Sox formerly utilized the complex's main ballpark, Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium, for Cactus League games each March and had their minor league complexes on-site. The ballpark was also home to the Tucson Sidewinders of the Pacific Coast League for the team's last decade in Tucson, running from the stadium's 1998 opening season to the 2008 season. The ballpark was a temporary home (2011–2013) to the Tucson Padres of the Pacific Coast League during the team's relocation to El Paso, Texas. It was also the regular season home of the Pecos League's Tucson Saguaros baseball team from 2016 to 2017. It seats 11,500 fans, and hosts concerts in addition to its primary function as a baseball park.
Hi Corbett Field is a baseball stadium located in Tucson, Arizona. The stadium holds approximately 9,500 people. It was the spring training home of the Colorado Rockies and Cleveland Indians, and is currently home to the Arizona Wildcats baseball team.
Phoenix Municipal Stadium is a baseball stadium, located in Phoenix, Arizona. It is often referred in short as Phoenix Muni. The stadium was built in 1964 and holds 8,775 people. It is currently the home to the Arizona State Sun Devils baseball program, having relocated to Phoenix Municipal Stadium at the start of their 2015 season. It is the former spring training home to the Oakland A's, having played their home games from 1984 to 2014. The San Francisco Giants also played at the ballpark, during spring training in 1964.
Scottsdale Stadium is a baseball field located in Scottsdale, Arizona, United States. The new stadium was built in 1992 and holds 12,000 people. It has been the spring training home of the San Francisco Giants since 1984, when the capacity was just 4,721.
State Farm Stadium, formerly known as University of Phoenix Stadium, is a multi-purpose American football stadium located in Glendale, Arizona, west of Phoenix. It is the home of the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL) and the annual Fiesta Bowl. It replaced Tempe's Sun Devil Stadium as the Valley of the Sun's main stadium. The stadium is adjacent to the Gila River Arena, home of the Arizona Coyotes NHL team.
Blair Field is a stadium in Long Beach, California. It originally opened in 1956 and is primarily used for baseball. It holds 3,238 people. It is named for Frank Blair, the sports editor for the Long Beach Press-Telegram newspaper for 32 years.
The Glendale Desert Dogs are a baseball team that plays in the West Division of the Arizona Fall League located in Glendale, Arizona. They play their home games at Camelback Ranch, the spring training home of the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers. Prior to the 2013 season, the team was known as the Phoenix Desert Dogs, playing home games at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. The Desert Dogs won five AFL Championships in a row from 2004 to 2008.
Camelback Ranch–Glendale is a stadium in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale, Arizona. It is operated by Camelback Spring Training LLC. It is the spring training home of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox. The stadium holds 13,000 people.
The Tampa Bay Area is home to many sports teams and has a substantial history of sporting activity. Most of the region's professional sports franchises use the name "Tampa Bay", which is the name of a body of water, not of any city. This is to emphasize that they represent the wider metropolitan area and not a particular municipality.
The College Football Playoff National Championship is a post-season college football bowl game, used to determine a national champion of the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), which began play in the 2014 college football season. The game serves as the final of the College Football Playoff, a bracket tournament between the top four teams in the country as determined by a selection committee, which was established as a successor to the Bowl Championship Series and its similar BCS National Championship Game. Unlike the BCS championship, the participating teams in the College Football Playoff National Championship are determined by two semi-final bowls—hosted by two of the consortium's six member bowls yearly—and the top two teams as determined by the selection committee do not automatically advance to the game in lieu of other bowls. This has caused a unique side effect in that, since the inception of the playoff, no #1 or #3 seed has won the National Championship.
The 2014 Fiesta Bowl was a college football bowl game played on December 31, 2014, at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The 44th Fiesta Bowl was one of the New Year's Bowls of the College Football Playoff. It was one of the 2014–15 bowl games that conclude the 2014 FBS football season. The game was sponsored by the Vizio consumer electronics company and is officially known as the Vizio Fiesta Bowl.
Sports in Phoenix include several professional sports franchises, and is one of only 13 U.S. cities to have representatives of all four major professional sports leagues, although only two of these teams actually carry the city name and play within the city limits. Phoenix was the last of the metropolitan areas with teams in all four leagues to gain its first major professional sports team, when the Suns were granted a franchise in 1968.
The 2015–16 NCAA football bowl games were a series of college football bowl games. They completed the 2015 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The games began on December 19, 2015 and, aside from the all-star games, ended with the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship which was played on January 11, 2016.
The 2016 PlayStation Fiesta Bowl (December) was a college football bowl game that was played on December 31, 2016 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. This 46th Fiesta Bowl Game was a College Football Playoff semifinal with the winner of the game competing against the winner of the 2016 Peach Bowl in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship which took place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. It was one of the 2016–17 bowl games that concluded the 2016 FBS football season.
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