Attending sporting events and cheering on local teams offer exhilarating opportunities to express pride for Salt Lake. While the Utah Jazz and Real Salt Lake compete for glory in the nation’s major sports leagues, many under-the-radar teams also call Utah home. From women’s tackle football to gymnastics, hockey and rugby, Utah is full of talented and dominant teams. As a bonus, tickets to watch them play are available and affordable. Read on to learn about four top-notch Utah teams in Salt Lake to root for.
University of Utah Gymnastics
The Red Rocks is a fitting nickname for the University of Utah Gymnastics team. Like the iconic sandstone formations of Southern Utah, the U of U’s gymnasts are solid, incredibly strong and truly impressive to witness in person.
As the only NCAA team in the nation to qualify for every national championship in history, the Red Rocks are a proven program known for their tenacity and desire for greatness. Head Coach Tom Farden has been working with the team since 2011. “We work as a unit to stay at the top of the nation every year,” Farden says. The team’s efforts to compete at the highest level are backed up by the stats: The Red Rocks have won a record 10 national championships.
The world-class talent of the U’s gymnasts has not gone unnoticed. Home meets at the Jon M. Huntsman Center regularly attract 15,000 fans. As the athletes compete in the vault, balance beam, floor and uneven bars, the buzzing crowd is on hand to erupt after every perfect dismount.
People wishing to attend meets and learn more about The Red Rocks can visit UtahUtes.com, click the “Sports” dropdown menu then the “Gymnastics” link. For tickets, visit utahtickets.com. The gymnastics season begins in January and runs through April.
Utah Falconz Football
The Falconz are consistently one of Utah’s winningest sporting organizations. Over the past six years, the organization has a 63–4 record—and they won back-to-back league championships in 2016 and 2017.
Team President and wide receiver Samantha Smith attributes the team’s steady success to high-quality coaching and attention to detail. “We are willing to focus on techniques that turn a semi-decent football team into one that executes at a higher level,” says Smith. Lacy Mile, the organization treasurer who also suits up as a defensive back, notes that the Falconz have developed a team culture of constructive support. “It all starts with genuinely caring about each teammate as an individual,” says Mile. “We are determined to constantly improve.”
Every spring season, the Falconz play a six-game regular season and travel to cities including Las Vegas and New Orleans. Home games are played at Cottonwood High School. In 2021, the Falconz host the Pacific conference tournament here in Salt Lake as the No. 1 seed. The tournament is set to take place at Hunter High School in West Valley.
Attendees of Falconz games can expect exciting, fast-paced football and a committed crowd. The rules of the game are nearly identical to NCAA football. Like all good sports teams, the Falconz maintain some unique traditions in the stadium. During the third quarter, mascots and cheerleaders toss PB&Js to the expectant crowd.
“The Falconz are here to show girls and women everywhere that they can do anything that they put their minds to,” says Mile. Tickets to games can be purchased on utahfalconz.com.
The Utah Grizzlies—a professional hockey team based in West Valley City—recently celebrated their 25th anniversary. Over the past 13 seasons, the organization has made the postseason 12 times. Grizzlies left winger Matthew Boucher was named the ECHL rookie of the year in 2021. Assistant Coach Ryan Kinasewich is also the team’s all-time leading scorer. Clearly, it’s a thrilling time to be a Grizzlies fan!
If you haven’t yet checked out a Grizzlies game at the Maverik Center, prepare for fast-paced action with big hits, incredible athleticism and remarkable agility. In the words of Director of Marketing Drew Scholl, Grizzles games “are a great opportunity to experience professional sports and not empty your wallet to get the whole family there.” No two Grizzlies games are the same, yet every one promises first-class entertainment.
As an affiliate club of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, the Grizzlies are able to put the highest caliber of hockey talent on the ice season after season. The team’s season begins in mid-October and runs through mid-April. Tickets are available at utahgrizzlies.com
The Warriors are a recent addition to Utah’s ever-expanding network of professional sports. As one of Major League Rugby’s founding teams, the Warriors played their first game in 2018. With multiple U.S. National Rugby Team members on the current squad, the Warriors are a top-tier sporting organization.
Kimbal Kjar, CEO and Co-Founder of the Warriors, explains that the culture of the team is based upon the core values of community, family, tradition and respect. “If something doesn’t fit into these values, we don’t do it,” says Kjar. The four values are represented by four stripes on the Warriors jerseys.
The Warriors’ home turf is Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, with capacity for 5,000 fans. Folks who are unfamiliar with rugby will find that the game is intuitive and relatively easy to learn from a spectator’s point of view. Rugby is the father of American football, though it is much more free-flowing, and every player plays both offense and defense. “People are blown away at how exciting and fun the environment is,” Kjar says. “If someone who has never been to a rugby game comes to a Warriors home game, they will surely be entertained and want to come back.”
Warriors games take place on Saturdays between March and July. Tickets to games can be purchased at warriorsrugby.com.
Sporting events gather people together to connect, celebrate and root for the home team. If you choose to get out there and catch a game, you’ll surely discover that Utah is a certified hub of affordable and action-packed sports entertainment.