Utah’s professional sports scene is alive and well. Though most major media consider Utah a “small” sports market, Utah is not without its share of professional sports teams. In addition, Utah has a multitude of loyal and spirited supporters.
The Utah Jazz, of the National Basketball Association, has been a fixture in Utah sports since it moved to Salt Lake City in 1979 from New Orleans. Home court is the Energy Solutions Arena, or ESA, where loyal fans are plentiful.
Major League Soccer is represented by Real Salt Lake (RSL), established in 2005 in a league expansion. Home pitch is Rio Tinto Stadium, or “The RioT”, in suburban Sandy. RSL’s fans are some of the league’s “best” and sellout crowds are the norm. Due to Utah’s tremendous love for the game of soccer, or “football” as purists call it, beginning in the 2015 season, the Real Monarchs will begin play. This USL Pro League team will play at the RioT for now, but plans to build a new stadium in Salt Lake City are underway. This league is similar to baseball’s AAA League, where player development can take place, and emerging “stars” can be spotted and promoted to the senior side. Season ticket sales for the new club are already brisk.
Speaking of AAA baseball, The Salt Lake Bees are an affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Angels. Playing in the Pacific Coast League, home field is Smith’s Ballpark in Salt Lake City. Franchise play began in 1994 when the team was moved from Portland, OR. After several name changes, the team became the Bees, a nod to the minor league team that played in SLC from 1915 -1926.
Baseball fans can also enjoy “America’s game” in Ogden where the Ogden Raptors call Lindquist Field home. Lindquist is noted to have one of the best views in professional baseball… The Raptors are members of minor league baseball’s Pioneer League, and are a “farm or rookie team” for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Orem Owls are also members of the Pioneer League, and are an affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels. They play at Brent Brown Ballpark on the campus of Utah Valley University.
For those who prefer play on the ice, the Utah Grizzles fill the bill. Member of the ECHL, a mid-level professional sports league, the Grizzlies are an affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Anaheim Ducks and the American Hockey Leagues’ Norfolk Admirals. Home Ice is the Maverick Center in suburban West Valley City.
For those fans of Arena Football, stay tuned. The Utah franchise, the Blaze, was not active in 2014, and the 2015 season is still in question. League spokesmen, though, expect a return of the team in the near future. When active, the team played at the ESA.
When making plans to attend any Utah professional sports game or match, include a stay at a Bed and Breakfast Inns of Utah member inn. Many inns are just a few miles from the field. Your innkeeper may even have some insights about players, best viewing spots, or ticket availability.