A Look at Arizona Sports Beyond the Major Leagues

Sure, Arizona is home to five professional sports teams and two NASCAR race weekends. And yes, it’s hosted four NFL Super Bowls and features the most boisterous annual event on the PGA Tour, the WM Phoenix Open. But the Grand Canyon State also caters to elite athletes — and their fans — of other sports, too. Check out this year-round lineup of action-packed competition.

A Look at Arizona Sports Beyond the Major Leagues
Tucson Roadrunners. Credit: @RoadrunnersAHL.


Since 2016, the Tucson Roadrunners have been the state's American Hockey League affiliate. Puck fans can catch 36 home games at Tucson Convention Center from October through April — with tons of family-friendly theme nights and promotions along the way — and a deep run in the Calder Cup playoffs could extend the on-ice play all the way into June.


Phoenix Rising Football Club has brought professional soccer action to the Greater Phoenix metro for almost a decade, now playing as part of the USL Championship. In 2024, they’ll strive to retain their league title at the newly completed Phoenix Rising Soccer Stadium on Washington Street just north of Sky Harbor Airport.

A Look at Arizona Sports Beyond the Major Leagues
Arizona Rattlers in Phoenix, Arizona. Credit: Matt Hinshaw/Arizona Rattlers.

Indoor Football

In Arizona, the gridiron action doesn’t end with the Super Bowl. The Arizona Rattlers captured five championships in 24 seasons in the Arena Football League before moving to the Indoor Football League (IFL) in 2017, where there garnered another championship win. Starting in March, they’ll call Glendale’s Desert Diamond Arena home. The Tucson Sugar Skulls joined the IFL as an expansion team in 2019, quickly building an avid fan base at Tucson Convention Center.


The 2024 Arizona Tennis Classic, part of the ATP Challenger Tour, annually showcases future stars in men’s professional tennis from around the planet. On March 11-17, 2024, at Phoenix Country Club, you might just spot the next Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Andre Agassi.

A Look at Arizona Sports Beyond the Major Leagues

Baseball’s Spring Training

Since 1947, MLB teams have headed to the desert to work out pre-Opening Day kinks via Cactus League Spring Training games. Today, a total of 10 ballparks around Greater Phoenix host 15 teams in February and March — with more than 200 games played in 30 days. Chicago Cubs fans flock annually to Sloan Stadium in Mesa, while Arizona Diamondbacks faithful can catch their squad’s early season games at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, which they share with the Colorado Rockies against a McDowell Mountains backdrop.


Weather and altitude training have contributed to Flagstaff’s title as the “running capital of the world.” The mountain town is home of the HOKA-sponsored Northern Arizona Elite team, which has trained top speedsters for everything from international track meets and marathons to World Championships and Olympics. Around the state, desert terrain provides the perfect test for a wide range of grueling ultra-marathons, including the Cocodona 250 (a point-to-point race from Black Canyon City to Flagstaff), the Black Canyon 100K from Spring Valley to New River, and the Navajo Parks Race Series 50-mile Monument Valley Ultra.


In 2023, El Tour de Tucson celebrated its 40th year as one of the country’s premier cycling events, with more than 9,000 cyclists two-wheeling it through 102 miles in the shadow of the Santa Catalina Mountains. Off the beaten path, gravel biking continues to soar in popularity. The Chino Grinder north of Prescott tops out with the 120-mile Full Grind and offers three shorter options. Starting in Patagonia and looping through the Borderlands, the Spirit World 100 is renowned for its rugged terrain and stunning landscapes. The 100-mile Bear Howard Gravel Race in Flagstaff includes a quad-burning out-and-back climb up Saddle Mountain, north of the San Francisco Peaks.

Mark Your Calendar

  • Phoenix will host its first ever NCAA Women’s Final Four on April 3 and 5, 2026 at the Footprint Center. Check back as the date approaches for more info on related events.
  • The 2024 NCAA Men’s Final Four, a.k.a. March Madness, carries into April 6 and 8 as Phoenix hosts the Division 1 college basketball championship for the second time. Hoops action takes place at State Farm Stadium, with additional activities at the Phoenix Convention Center and Margaret T. Hance Park.
  • The top talents in women’s pro basketball tip off at the 2024 AT&T WNBA All-Star Game at Footprint Center on Saturday, July 20. The weekend warms up on Friday with the WNBA STARRY® 3-Point Contest and Kia WNBA Skills Challenge.

Family Activities


Host to Major League Baseball Spring Training and unlimited golf outings, Arizona offers year-round activities for sports enthusiasts.


Spring Training

Check out our all-star lineup, including the two World Series teams, for your ultimate Cactus League Spring Training getaway in Arizona. Lead...



Phoenix is the capital city of Arizona and is located in the central region of the state. People may know it for its year-round sun, desert...

About the Author

Jake Poinier

Jake Poinier is a veteran freelance writer, editor, and author whose work has appeared in USAToday, Blue Water Sailing, and Golf Illustrated, among numerous other publications. When he's not at his desk writing for corporate clients and editing books, he can probably be found hiking or fishing along the Mogollon Rim, skiing in the White Mountains, or sailing just about anywhere.


Cities & Regions

From the abundance of Saguaro cactuses and unique wildlife in the Sonoran Desert to the high country and forests of the White Mountains to the breathtaking Grand Canyon, Arizona’s regions are full of experiences that don’t disappoint.