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Updated: March 20, 2023
Sporting events in Phoenix include professional football, baseball, basketball, and hockey. The Valley is also where all 15 teams in the Cactus League for spring training play.
You will also find dozens of semi-pro, minor league, and highly ranked college teams here. Other sports related activities include golf, soccer, motor sports, marathons, and other running races.
Pro teams that call this area home include the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Coyotes, Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Phoenix Mercury.
If you love college sports, make sure to check out games at Arizona State University and Grand Canyon University. Both are NCAA Division I schools.
Disclaimer: I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.
Preseason starts in late August or early September
Season schedule starts in middle to late September and ends in January. Playoffs can last until Mid-February.
The NFL's Arizona Cardinals are always known as one of the best sporting events in Phoenix during the fall and winter seasons. They are always a fun team to watch play in their amazing State Farm Stadium in Glendale, which holds just over 63,000 fans and is a quick 10-minute drive from downtown Phoenix.
They are in the NFC West Conference against the Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles, Rams. They also play other teams from around league, so there is a good chance you'll see your favorite team play here depending on when you are in The Valley.
Fun Fact: The stadium's roof is made out a translucent material built at an incline and only teaks 12 minutes to open or close it. Therefore, no matter how hot it is outside, it will be just the right temperature for you to watch the games.
Preseason starts in late September
The season schedule starts in middle October and ends in April. Playoffs can last until June.
The Arizona Coyotes have had a rough time since starting in Phoenix, but they are still a fun team to watch play as they are starting to improve each year. They are constantly trying to improve and keep moving forward through trades and draft picks.
The Coyotes play in the Central Division which means that they'll be playing against teams such as the always great Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, and the St. Louis Blues among other.
They used to play at the Gila River Arena in the Westgate Entertainment District in Glendale, but their lease ran out in 2022. They now play at Mullett Arena on Arizona State University's campus during the 2023, 2024, and 2025 seasons. The arena has a total capacity of just over 5,000 people, so you are definitely going to get a great view of the action no matter where you are sitting.
Being that there are so many sporting events in Phoenix, it really makes it a great place to come and enjoy your vacation.
Preseason starts in March with the season opener in April. You will then find games until the end of the season which is usually the end of September or early October. Playoffs can last until November.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are probably the favorite team in The Valley of the Sun as they play in a gorgeous stadium, have some great players, and they are so close to downtown Phoenix. They are constantly in contention to win the NL West Division and move on to the MLB World Series, which they last won in 2001.
Some of their most famous players include Luis Gonzalez, Paul Goldschmidt, and Hall of Fame pitcher Randy Johnson, and numerous others. They have a lot of younger stars coming up combined with wily veterans who always make the games interesting.
Some of their Western Division rivals include the Los Angeles Dodgers, the San Diego Padres and the San Francisco Giants.
They also play team from both the National and American League so there is a good chance you'll see them against one of your favorites during your stay here. They play at Chase Field, which holds 53,000 fan and is extremely easy to get to by public transit as there is a light rail stop within a block of it.
Fun Fact: The massive 9-million-pound retractable roof at Chase Field can open or close in just 3 to 4 minutes. It was constructed to be as energy efficient as possible and therefore it actually only costs about 2 dollars to do that!
Preseason starts in late September or early October
The season schedule starts in October and ends in April. Playoffs can last until mid-Junes.
The Phoenix Suns are always a blast to watch play with their high-speed offense, stifling defense, and great players.
They've reached the playoffs in over 50% of the team's seasons and this team is loaded this year and ready to make a run for the NBA Championship. Some of the previous greats include Steve Nash, Amar'e Stoudemire, Kevin Johnson and others.
The Suns play in the beautiful Footprint Center in downtown Phoenix. This arena has just been updated and is one of the nicest in all of the NBA.
All the seats give you an amazing view of the court and you will have easy access to the arena since there is loads of mass transit around it.
Not only can you get single game tickets, but they also offer the "Premium Experience" with suites that can hold up to 80 people!
Trust me, you will not want to miss this one of the great sporting events in Phoenix if they are playing at home while you are here.
3 WNBA World Championships
Preseason starts in Early May
The season starts in late May and ends in August. Playoffs can last until September.
One of the 8 original WNBA franchises, the Phoenix Mercury is always in the running for the next WNBA Championship as their style of play, coaching, and skill level is always top-notch.
They have won 3 WNBA World Championships and have numerous division and conference championships as well.
Some of their most famous players include Diana Taurasi, who has won the rookie of the year, the WNBA Championship MVP, and four Olympic Gold Medals. Others include the incredible Brittney Griner, and more.
The Phoenix Mercury play at the same location as the Phoenix Suns, the Talking Stick Resort Arena, since they play different months, this gives you the chance to see either the women's or the men's team in about any time of the year!
"BATTER UP AND PLAY BALL!!!!"
Spring Training Season: Most of March and some of early April
One of the beauties of living in The Valley is the amazing amount of sporting event in Phoenix almost all year long!
Since I'm a big-time baseball fanatic, while Jill is more of a basketball junkie (both NBA and WNBA), this gives us a chance to indulge each other and share out past times together.
Every year, Phoenix is home to the Cactus League Spring Training teams. This means that 15 teams, some from the National League and others from the American League, will face off each other here.
Since the stadiums are much smaller than the Major League ones, you can see the players close up and maybe even get to talk to them, get an autograph or even catch a baseball!
Some of the teams that play here include The Chicago Cubs and White Sox, the L.A. Angels and Dodgers, The Seattle Mariners, The Texas Rangers, and more.
Since you get to see some of the up-can-coming stars before they reach the majors, or some of the stars of the majors who are just getting some practice in before the real season starts, there is nothing like this experience anywhere else.
Plus, the weather is just perfect for the games since the weather in Phoenix during Spring Training is perfect!
Season starts in June until the end of August
Since Phoenix is such a great place to play baseball, the Major League teams decided to have a one-month special rookie only league
The season is 56 games and the teams are only allowed 35 players total and they cannot have had more than 3 years of minor league experience.
Some of the players may include pros who are here rehabilitating injuries, so even though you may go in expecting to see only youngsters, you may see some of the best in the majors also!
The playoffs are split into two divisions and the games are fast and furious. The games are played in different fields around the city.
Some of the pro teams that have teams here include the San Diego Padres, The Kansas City Royals, The Cincinnati Reds, as well as the teams mentioned above in the Spring Training section.
Season starts in October and ends in November
This is not the Arizona Complex League mentioned above (yes, it can be confusing even to us locals!), the Arizona Fall League has only 6 teams with most of them in Phoenix. So, what are the differences you ask between the two? Jill and I will explain:
1. There are only 6 teams, in two divisions of 3, that play here.
2. Every team in the Majors has to send 6 of their top prospects, so it ends up being 180 players total. So, each team gets 30 players.
3. Almost all the players are Double-A or Triple-A which means they are very close to going up to the major leagues. Meaning they are the best of the best.
4. Just to give you an idea of the amount of awards players who started here have won in at "The Show" include over 300 All-Stars, 6 Cy Young pitchers (given to the best pitcher in the majors each year), 19 MVPS, 7 World Series MVPS, and more.
5. This is basically like a soon to be All-Star game at a bargain price!
Trust me, this is some serious baseball and you can tell your friends that, "I saw him when he was in the minors and I knew he was going to be a star!" They'll envy you and your knowledge of the up-and-coming stars!
The season begins in March and ends in July
5 ArenaBowl Championships (AFL)
1 United Bowl Championship (IFL)
If being outside isn't really your thing, then you'll want to check out the Arizona Rattlers as one of the many choices of sporting events in Phoenix.
The Rattlers were previously part of the Arena Football League and then moved to the Indoor Football League (IFL) in 2017 where they won the United Bowl Championship.
Being that the team has been so dominant for so many years, they have many players who have been on the All-Star teams and had their jersey numbers retired.
Even though you may not see these players in the NFL, that by no means it isn't a total thrill to see them running wild here since you may see scores in the 80s or more!
And, since it is at the Footprint Center, there isn't a bad seat in the whole area.
Season starts in March and ends in October
You may have noticed that Phoenix is a hot bed for football, baseball, basketball, and hockey. However, if you are still looking for more, you can go to Phoenix Rising FC soccer match.
The Phoenix Rising is a member of the USL which is the 2nd level of the American Soccer League System.
Since they are in the 2nd tier of the ASLS, there is a good chance you'll see one of the up-and-coming players either on the Phoenix Rising or on one of the many teams they play during the year.
Established in 2016, they've had a great run as they've won a Western Conference title in 2018 and 2020 and won the USL Championship's regular season title in 2019.
Possibly more impressive, they won 20 matches in a row during one season. The team and fans find this streak to be rather humorous since it also ran concurrently with the "Dollar Beer Night" promotion.
Maybe, if you go on one of those, you can just help them start a new one! Just please keep your clothes on.
They play at the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex at Wild Horse Pass in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler, Arizona.
For those of you who are looking to see some college ball, the ASU Sun Devils are a great choice while you are looking for sporting events in Phoenix.
The Sun Devils are part of the Pac-12 conference that includes the University of Arizona, UCLA, U.S.C., U.C. Berkeley, and other colleges on the west coast.
The Sun Devils have always been known for their outstanding football, baseball, basketball and softball teams.
Some of the athletes that have attended ASU include NFL Hall of Fame Inductee Danny White, MLB Barry Bonds and Reggie Jackson, and golf's Missy Farr-Kaye among many others.
They have over 25 college sports for you to watch and enjoy, so you'll find something no matter what time of year you visit The Valley of the Sun.
Not only that, but the campus is gorgeous and worth just walking around while you are waiting for the sporting event of your choice.
Although not nearly as well-known as Arizona State University, GCU is still a division 1 school and is worth checking out for sports fans.
They play in the Western Athletic Conference against teams like New Mexico State University, Seattle University, and other smaller schools.
Their main sports are baseball, basketball and softball. They have won over 30 titles in their 7 years since they've joined the Western Athletic Conference.
The university's grounds are quite beautiful and worth your time to visit.
The Fiesta Bowl is one of the best college playoff games that you can find anywhere as it helps decide one of the teams that will play for the championship.
This happens every three years with the other two still being very important games between other highly ranked teams.
Some of the powerhouse teams that have played here include #2 ranked Ohio State, #Clemson (which went on to win the 2019 championship), #3 University of Texas, among others. Teams love to play here because the crowds are always loud and ready to cheer on their team.
If you have little ones with you, you'll definitely want to check out the parade as that is a highlight even if you can't get tickets to the game.
They also have special auctions, events, and celebrations during the week of the Fiesta Bowl. It is usually played the last week of December or the first week of January. Therefore, it is a perfect way to either end the year or welcome in the new one!
It is played in the State Farm Stadium in Glendale and you'll want to try to buy your tickets well in advance as they will sell out very quickly.
The Cactus Bowl is a team that has the two best teams of the Big 10 and the Big 12 each year. It used to include the Pac 12 but that changed recently.
However, if either the best team of the Big 10 or Big 12 is in the national championship contention, it will move down to the next best.
In fact, this is the only way that any of the Big 10 and Big 12 teams can play other than if they are in the top 6 playoff teams.
So, if you are a fan of one of these two conferences, and want to see them beat the other, this is the place to be! The conferences with the most appearances include the Big 12 with 17, the Pac 12 with 13, and the Big 10 with 10.
Lots of Cactus Bowl players that have gone on to big time NFL careers including Le'Veon Bell, Aaron Rodgers, Tyler Lockett, and many others. It is played at Chase Field.
Everyone knows that Phoenix is a wonderland for anyone who loves to golf, so these two events are a great way to see the best of everything the Valley of the Sun.
The Waste Management Phoenix Open, which is nicknamed, "The People's Open" is a great one during late January or early February at Tournament Players Club in Scottsdale.
This is a PGA (Professional Golfers' Association) Tour so you will see some of the best in the world here. These include golfers such as Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson and other stars.
There are events all week long that will make you enjoy this experience more than you could ever imagine.
The Bank of Hope Founders Cup is a 4-day LPGA (Ladies Professional Golfers' Association) Tour event at the Wildfire Golf Club each March.
One of the special things about this event is that a large amount of the tournament's purse is donated to charities chosen by the top 10 finishers.
They have since added money to the winners also, so it is more beneficial to all involved. Since this is such an important event in the tour, you'll definitely see some of the stars.
Some of the past winners include Anna Nordqvist, Ko Jin-Young, and Karrie Webb. It is played during the month of May.
Vroom Vroom and off we go!
The speed demon in you will love that you have the choice to take in numerous race car sporting events in Phoenix when you visit there. You can see all kinds of NASCAR races at the Phoenix Raceway.
Another place to see the best is the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park and their awesome drag races, NHRA races and more.
Now, if you want to be a driver, Phoenix has a number of great options for you too! One of my favorite is the experience where I get to drive an actual NASCAR around the track!
Some of the cars that these different companies include actual NASCAR cars, Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and more! Phoenix is definitely the place to enjoy your need for speed!
If you aren't in the mood to go that fast, you can always check out the go-karts. We suggest these are probably better options if you are here with your family, for obvious reasons.
On your mark, get set, GO!
Originally known as the Phoenix Marathon, the Sprouts Mesa Marathon continues to run on and on and coming more and more important each year. Some of the top runners in the world come to Phoenix every year since this a Boston Marathon qualifier.
This is such an important race that the spaces usually sell out very quickly and you'll want to plan ahead to buy them. There are also many events, attractions, and vendors with just about everything you'd imagine needing for your best race ever! So, tie them shoes and get out there and do your best and hopefully we'll see you in Boston!
In addition to the Sprouts Mesa Marathon, Phoenix has many other options for runners, and you can find out more about them here.