Utah is the least populous U.S. state to have a major professional sports league franchise. The Utah Jazz of the National Basketball Association play at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City. The team moved to the city from New Orleans in 1979 and has been one of the most consistently successful teams in the league (although they have yet to win a championship). Salt Lake City was previously host to the Utah Stars, who competed in the ABA from 1970–76 and won 1 championship, and to the Utah Starzz of the WNBA from 1997 to 2003.
Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer was founded in 2005 and play their home matches at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy. RSL remains the only Utah major league sports team to have won a national championship, having won the MLS Cup in 2009.
The Utah Blaze began play in the original AFL in 2006 that folded before the 2009 season, then returned to play when the league was re-founded in 2010. They folded again in 2013. They competed originally at the Maverik Center in West Valley City, and later at EnergySolutions Arena.
Utah’s highest level minor league baseball team is the Salt Lake Bees, who play at Smith’s Ballpark in Salt Lake City and are part of the AAA level Pacific Coast League. Utah also has one minor league hockey team, the Utah Grizzlies, who play at the Maverik Center and compete in the ECHL.
Utah has six universities that compete in Division I of the NCAA. Three of the schools have football programs that participate in the top-level Football Bowl Subdivision: Utah in the Pac-12 Conference, Utah State in the Mountain West Conference, and BYU as an independent (although BYU competes in the non-football West Coast Conference for most other sports). In addition, Weber State and Southern Utah (SUU) compete in the Big Sky Conference of the FCS. Utah Valley, which has no football program, is a full member of the Western Athletic Conference.
Salt Lake City hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics. After early financial struggles and scandal, the 2002 Olympics eventually became among the most successful Winter Olympics in history from a marketing and financial standpoint. Watched by over 2 billion viewers, the Games ended up with a profit of $40 million.
Utah has hosted professional golf tournaments such as the Uniting Fore Care Classic and currently the Utah Championship.
Rugby has been growing quickly in the state of Utah, growing from 17 teams in 2009 to 70 teams as of 2013, including with over 3,000 players, and more than 55 high school varsity teams. The growth has been inspired in part by the 2008 movie Forever Strong. Utah fields two of the most competitive teams in the nation in college rugby — BYU and Utah.