Texas has eleven major league professional sports teams: the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros of Major League Baseball; the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans of the National Football League; the Dallas Stars of the National Hockey League; the Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, and Dallas Mavericks of the National Basketball Association; the Houston Comets and San Antonio Silver Stars of the Women's National Basketball Association, and the Dallas Burn of Major League Soccer. The Cowboys are, by far, the most consistently successful of Texas's teams. They have won the Super Bowl five times—in 1972, 1978, 1993, 1994, and 1996. They have appeared in it and lost an additional three times. The Houston Rockets won consecutive NBA Championships in 1994 and 1995. Houston lost the Oilers of the NFL, who moved to Tennessee after the 1996 season. However, an expansion team, the Texans, replaced them and began NFL play in 2002.

Pari-mutuel betting on horse races was legalized in Texas in the early 1990s, and thoroughbred tracks are open near Houston and Dallas. Quarter-horse racing is also popular and rodeo is a leading spectator sport. Participant sports popular with Texans include hunting, fishing, horseback riding, boating, swimming, tennis, and golf. State professional and amateur golf tournaments are held annually, as are numerous rodeos. The Texas Sports Hall of Fame was organized in 1951; new members are selected each year by a special committee of the Texas Sports Writers Association.

There are a plethora of colleges and universities in Texas, with many elite teams in football, basketball, and baseball. The University of Texas Longhorns are traditionally strong in football, having captured three national championships (1963, 1969, 1970) and made over 40 bowl game appearances. They also have a very solid baseball program. Texas A&M University in College Station also has an elite football program. Their team earned a national championship in 1939 and won 18 conference titles in the now-defunct Southwestern Conference. In 1998 the Aggies won the Big Twelve Conference title. Texas Tech's women's basketball team has been consistently ranked as a top team in the national polls. Baylor and Rice Universities, of the Big Twelve Conference and Western Athletic Conference, respectively, both field outstanding baseball teams. The teams are traditonally ranked high in the national polls. The Rice Owls won the 2003 College World Series.