Salt Lake City and its surrounding valley regions are quickly growing as a national leader in sports tourism. As a past and possible future Winter Olympics host, Salt Lake knows what it takes to host sports events on a global and local scale. Hopping on the city’s light rail system will take you to explore the mountains, the pristine downtown, the up-and-coming South Valley region and everything in between. From the time you spend at your venue to your off-time exploring, Salt Lake will truly feel like a one-of-a-kind vacation.
About Sports Salt Lake
In 2021, Sports Salt Lake rolled out as the sports sales and marketing division of Visit Salt Lake. Salt Lake has seen incredible growth of sports tourism as an industry, and this new division will continue this expansion. Sports Salt Lake works hand in hand with the South Valley Chamber, an increasingly popular sports destination in the south of the Salt Lake valley. We had the opportunity to speak with Clay Partain, Managing Director of Sports Salt Lake, and Chris Robinson, Sports Sales Manager for the South Valley region, to hear about all that’s going on in this leading sports destination.
Explore South Valley
Located within Salt Lake, the South Valley area has blossomed in recent years as a destination to experience sports outside of the city. Visitors can experience all the same venues and experiences you get right downtown, just a rail ride away. Home of the Mountain America Expo Center, incredible skiing, and a block of hotels and restaurants, South Valley has everything you’d need in the city, yet with a small-town feel. If you’d like to spend a bit more time with the family and not have the hustle and bustle of city life, South Valley is the spot for you.
Salt Palace Convention Center
In the heart of downtown Salt Lake, the Salt Palace Convention Center boasts more than 1,000,000 square feet of space to host concerts and a plethora of events. The exterior is an intricately designed masterpiece as well; the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art and Abravanel Hall, home of the Utah Symphony, are adjoined to the convention center. This spot is truly a central cultural hub in addition to a standout sports facility.
Mountain America Expo Center
Opened in 2000 in the South Valley region, the 270,000 sq. ft. Mountain America Expo Center has become a major player in hosting local and national shows, expos, conferences and community events. In conjunction with the Salt Palace Convention Center, there is no shortage of event space in the Salt Lake & South Valley area.
Regional Athletic Complex
Centrally located just minutes away from downtown Salt Lake City and the airport, the Regional Athletic Complex (RAC) is an impressive outdoor field complex. With surrounding breathtaking mountain views and sixteen fields, the complex is a no brainer selection for your next tournament or event. The premier fields are perfectly maintained, and the property offers a championship field with a scoreboard and WiFi access. Whether it’s for football, soccer, volleyball, quidditch, or rugby, the RAC has you covered.
Real Salt Lake Academy (RSL)
The RSL Academy, a public STEM high school, is amidst a huge revival. They were primarily built to house a high school while simultaneously training the RSL soccer team. They are transitioning now to do more basketball down there and really expand on that front. “They are a great facility. They have everything from training to recovery built in there, which is really unique,” Robinson says. Often used for professional and minor leagues, their facilities are increasingly being utilized for overall tourism events.
State Fair Park
“We try to diversify as much as we can. Historically, we’ve been popular for indoor sports because we have a lot of convention space, but we have several outdoor venues that we host soccer, rugby, lacrosse, quidditch, and more.”Clay Partain
Discover with Ease
Salt Lake’s very own light rail system, TRAX, is a highly unique amenity for a US city. The system is extremely affordable and is set up to offer simple transport throughout the city, including stops at the airport, downtown, South Valley, and at major convention centers. For those staying or playing in the South Valley area, simply hop on the rail to travel to and from the airport, your venue, hotel, and downtown for exploring. No rental car needed!
Enjoying your Free Time
Sports Salt Lake offers a Connect Pass for those visiting, granting discounted access to 17 attractions, including the Planetarium, aquarium, and zoo. There’s something for everyone on the list— check it out here!
From the surrounding mountains and rivers to the downtown area, the Salt Lake region has it all. For an outdoor adventure, try hiking, a river expedition, or a national park visit. In South Valley, ample ski areas are a perfect getaway in the winter months. Downtown, explore the selection of museums, or treat yourself to dining and shopping. Additionally, the Mormon Temple is the most visited spot in the state, attracting millions each year.
Past & Future Olympic Host
Salt Lake City is America’s pick to host the Winter Olympics in 2030 or 2034. As the successful 2002 Winter Olympics host, Salt Lake still utilizes and maintains their Olympic Oval, where US Skating is housed, and all other Olympic venues, which are all centrally located within a half hour drive of downtown.
Triple Crown Volleyball
Triple Crown Volleyball is the biggest sports event of the year for Salt Lake. Over 4,000 elite level volleyball players and their families attended from June 4-6th, 2021. The event was played at the Salt Palace Convention Center in downtown Salt Lake. The city was bustling for the invitational- an exciting kickoff to an active, fun-filled summer.
Jam On It Basketball
Jam On It Basketball was held across a series of weekends from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Several thousand basketball players, both locally and nationally, trickled in throughout the summer for the event. Jam On It was also held in the Salt Palace Convention Center.
“Teams certainly come to compete, but they also come to play. We love partnering with destinations that also have a vacation appeal. Salt Lake can offer a one-of-a-kind experience for our athletes and fans, as many want to come out early or stay late and check out all the national parks and surrounding mountains.”Sean Hardy, Triple Crown Sports
For more information on Sports Salt Lake and their array of facilities, or to reach out with questions, head to their Playeasy profile!
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