There are five major league professional teams in Arizona, all in Phoenix: the Cardinals of the National Football League, the Suns of the National Basketball Association, the Coyotes of the National Hockey League, the Mercury of the Women's National Basketball Association, and the Diamondbacks of the National League in baseball. The Diamondbacks captured the World Series in 2001. There is a minor league hockey team, also in Phoenix. Several Major League Baseball teams hold spring training in Arizona, and there is a minor league team in Tucson, as well as several rookie league teams throughout the state. There is horse racing at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, and dog racing at Phoenix, Tucson, and Yuma. Auto racing is held at Manzanita Raceway and International Raceway, in Phoenix. Phoenix International Raceway also hosts a NASCAR Winston Cup event in early November. Both Phoenix and Tucson have hosted tournaments on the Professional Golfers Association's nationwide tour.

The first organized rodeo that awarded prizes and charged admission was held in Prescott on 4 July 1988, and rodeos continue to be held throughout the state.

Both Arizona State and the University of Arizona joined the Pacific 10 Conference in 1978. The Sun Devils won the Rose Bowl in their first appearance in 1987, and also appeared in 1997. The Wildcats captured NCAA Division I baseball championships in 1975, 1980, and 1986, and the NCAA Division I men's basketball championship in 1997. The Sun Devils won the championship in 1981. College football's Fiesta Bowl is held annually at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, the home stadium for the Arizona State football team.

Other annual sporting events include the Thunderbird Balloon Classic in Scottsdale in November.