Over the last 30 years or so, professional sports have expanded exponentially. There has been a litany of expansion teams and relocations, particularly out west. Cities and states that once had no teams now suddenly have a few to choose from.

One of those states is Arizona, usually a destination for retirees looking for a warm place to live. That said, Arizona has more than a few professional sports teams that draw the attention of locals and earn national attention.

Phoenix Suns

If you need to see how popular the Suns are, just look at sports betting. They are one of the most popular options in Arizona online sports betting, rated as a contender in the NBA’s Western Conference. A major part of that has to do with the fact that the team added superstars Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal in the last year, giving them star power that few teams can match.

Though the franchise hasn’t won an NBA championship – their most notable season saw Charles Barkley and crew lose to the immortal Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls – it feels like they are right on the cusp of greatness. If KD and crew can bring a championship to the desert, they will live on as legends for life.

Arizona Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks have flown under the radar since coming to Major League Baseball in 1998. There have been ups and downs, with perhaps the greatest moment in Arizona sports history coming in an epic World Series victory over the legendary New York Yankees in 2001.

The D-backs have had recent success as well, winning the NL pennant in 2023 against financial juggernauts in the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants. The team has won the NL West five times (the last in 2011) and there are hopes that they can build on the success of this past season to continue challenging for the NL crown.

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals have one of the more interesting histories in NFL history. They actually came into existence in 1920 as the Chicago Cardinals. They had a stop in St. Louis before winding up in Arizona ahead of the 1988 season. Since then, success has been few and far between but they persist as a focal point of Arizona sports.

The Cardinals have made the playoffs just six times in 35 years with three division titles along the way. The closest they got was making the Super Bowl in 2008, losing a close but classic game to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Since then, the Cardinals have shown promise, but injuries continue to plague the top players on the team. With a couple of high draft picks, the team has hopes for a quick turnaround.

Arizona Coyotes

Despite being arguably the most controversial team in the NHL, the Coyotes have been bringing professional hockey to the desert since relocating from Winnipeg in 1996. It was a questionable move at the time with uncertainty surrounding whether or not a professional hockey franchise could thrive in a non-traditional hockey market.

It doesn’t help that the Coyotes have largely been unsuccessful since arriving. The franchise has just one division title since then and just two playoff seasons since 2012. The Coyotes have a bright future on the ice with some of the most talented youngsters in the league. The biggest issue right now is figuring out a new stadium. The team plays at Arizona State’s hockey facility as the quest for funding for a new arena is still ongoing. A surge from the team on the ice could help swing that momentum.