Sports Teams of Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City is home to the Utah Jazz of the National Basketball Association (abbreviation NBA), who moved from New Orleans in 1979 and play their home games at their home base of Vivint Smart Home Arena (formerly known as the Delta Center and later known as EnergySolutions Arena). They are the only team from one of the four top-level professional sports leagues in the state. The franchise has enjoyed steady success, at one point making the playoffs in 22 out of 25 seasons, but has yet to win a championship. Salt Lake City was home to a professional basketball team, the Utah Stars of the American Basketball Association (abbreviation ABA), between 1970–75. They won one championship in the city (in 1971) and enjoyed some of the strongest support of any ABA team, but they folded just months before the ABA–NBA merger, thus preventing them from being absorbed by the NBA. Their success may have had a hand in the decision by the struggling Utah Jazz to relocate to Salt Lake City in 1979.
Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer was founded in the year 2004, initially playing at Rice-Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah before the soccer-specific Rio Tinto Stadium was completed in 2008 in neighboring Sandy. The team won their first MLS championship by defeating the Los Angeles Galaxy at the 2009 MLS Cup. RSL advanced to the finals of the CONCACAF Champions League in 2011 but lost 3–2 on aggregate, and also advanced to the 2013 MLS Cup Final. The city has also played host to several international soccer games.
Utah Warriors is a professional rugby union team that is scheduled to play Major League Rugby in 2018, playing their home games at Zions Bank Stadium, which they share with the Real Monarchs SLC of the United Soccer League.
Arena football expanded into the city around the year 2006 with the Utah Blaze of the Arena Football League. They recorded the highest average attendance in the league in their first season. After the original AFL folded in 2009, the future of the Blaze was unclear. However, a new league branded as the Arena Football League began play in 2010. The Blaze franchise was restored and is playing in the new league. The Salt Lake Stallions of the AAF are also based in Salt Lake City.
There are also two minor league teams in the city. The Salt Lake Bees, a Pacific Coast League Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels, play at Smith’s Ballpark and were established in 1994 as the Buzz. Their name was changed to the Stingers in 2002 and to the Bees, a historical Salt Lake City baseball team name, in 2006. The Utah Grizzlies hockey team of the ECHL were established in 2005, replacing the previous Grizzlies team that existed from when they relocated from Denver in 1995 to 2005 in the International Hockey League (abbreviation IHL) and, later, the American Hockey League (abbreviation AHL). They play at their home base of Maverik Center in neighboring West Valley City.