With the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games concluding, it’s so thrilling to note that 52 athletes with Park City roots or connections were part of the field of 200+ competitors from Team USA! It's so wonderful to see so many local athletes bringing home medals and fulfilling their Olympic dreams. The legacy of our 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Winter Games are all the incredible facilities that were built that are still actively in use today, helping to inspire and train our future Olympians.
We are so thankful to the Youth Sports Alliance for all they do to keep our local youth and future Olympians involved in athletic skills development, regardless of financial ability. Who knows, we very well may get to host another Olympics in the next decade. And, now that the Super Bowl is in the rear view mirror as well, you may be feeling a bit of a spectator ‘let down.’ Fear not!
One of the significant points of differentiation Park City and the Wasatch Back can claim over any other winter resort town is the proximity to a full calendar of terrific professional competitive spectator sports. Within an hour’s drive, there’s a plethora of choices to cheer on your favorite team or discover a new sport for your viewing pleasure.
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BLENDING NEW OWNERSHIP - UTAH JAZZ AND REAL SALT LAKE
Early this year, a group led by David Blitzer, owner of the Philadelphia 76ers NBA team & NJ Devils hockey teams, acquired all the assets of REAL Salt Lake (RSL). Ryan Smith, who founded local software company Qualtrics also invested in the deal. He and his Sports Entertainment Group (SEG) own the Utah Jazz, having purchased it from the Miller dynasty in 2020. This significant investment in our teams bodes well for spectators and players alike.
The NBA Jazz call the Vivint Smart Home Arena in downtown Salt Lake City home. With a season that lasts almost 8 months inclusive of playoffs, there’s a game or two about every week. Tickets can usually be purchased throughout the season, except at playoff time. Season tickets for 2022/23 are now on sale. Hard-core fans and business owners might wish to consider renting a season-long premium suite; the facility offers a variety of sizing and catering options.
REAL Salt Lake (RSL) is a Major League Soccer team ranked in the top 10 of the Western Conference. With a season that runs from late February through October, fans have plenty of chances to enjoy matches at Rio Tinto Stadium located on State Street in Sandy. We recommend you consider seating on the west side of the stadium to avoid both glare and intense summer heat at sunset. Ticket information is available here.
Utah Grizzlies is a top 5 minor league hockey team in the Western Conference that is based out of the Maverick Center in West Valley City. The season runs from October through mid-April. Ticket information is available here.
In the fall, big time college football can be enjoyed locally in a state rivalry that has spanned decades. On the "RED" side are the University of Utah UTES, who were 2021 PAC-12 Champions and significant contenders in an epic 2022 Rose Bowl shootout with Ohio State. The Utes play at Rice-Eccles Stadium at the University. More info on the Utes here.
On the “BLUE” Side are fans of the Brigham Young University (BYU) Cougars, who recently opted into the Big 12 and will begin playing in that conference in 2023. BYU football games are played at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, and tickets can be purchased here.
If the rough and tumble rugby action at City Park in Park City has you craving more, the Utah Warriors are a professional rugby union team that competes in Major League Rugby at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley. The season runs from February through June. Tickets info is available here.
The University of Utah Red Rocks Women’s Gymnastics team is consistently ranked one of the best in the nation and usually sends a few competitors to the Summer Olympic Games. Home games can be enjoyed at U of U Jon M. Huntsman Center on the U Campus off Foothill Drive. The season runs from mid-December through March. This year they’ll be competing in the PAC-12 Gymnastic Championships on Saturday, March 19 and tickets are available here.
CrossFit continues to grow in popularity with many local competitions scheduled year-round. Follow the Utah CrossFit Hub on Facebook for more details here.
Pickleball has become enormously popular in the Park City area. There’s a private Facebook group you can join if you want to learn about new playing opportunities. Throughout the Wasatch Front there are tournaments just about every weekend. Follow Utah Pickleball Tournaments Facebook group here.
Utah Motorsports Campus
Formerly named the Miller Motorsports Park, the Motorsports Campus is the largest racetrack and event venue in Utah, located just 30 minutes west of Salt Lake in the Tooele Valley. They offer both amateur and professional races for all types of drivers and vehicles, from autos to karts to bikes and motorbikes; there’s even the chance to drive a Lotus.
The Salt Lake County Equestrian Park in South Jordan offers great viewing of all types of events from Barrel Racing to Paint Horse Shows to Dog Agility Trials. View the full schedule here.
Closer to home, the Wasatch County Fairgrounds in Heber offers a robust schedule of year-round equestrian events with both indoor and outdoor events. View the schedule here.
In Oakley, the Oakley City Arena offers great viewing for local club events such as roping and steer wrestling, and of course the infamous July 4 Rodeo. View their facilities and events here.
Given our significant population of professional airline pilots living along the Wasatch Back and our proximity to Hill Air Force base in Ogden, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the 2022 return of the Utah Air Show Hill by the USAF Thunderbirds. Mark your calendar for June 25th and 26th. This event is one of the largest aerial demonstrations in the country, with an estimated 550,000+ attendees for this bi-annual event. Given the crowd size, planning ahead is critical. Follow their website as details unfold here.
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We hope you enjoy this rundown of professional spectator events beyond our immediate world of snowsports and mountain biking competitions. We are so fortunate to have such a wide variety of professional spectating opportunities within a short drive from the mountains. Hope to see you out in the stands soon!