The Tampa Bay Area is home to many sports teams and has a substantial history of sporting activity. Most of the region's professional sports franchises use the name "Tampa Bay", which is the name of a body of water, not of any city. This is to emphasize that they represent the wider metropolitan area and not a particular municipality.
Three teams compete at the major league level. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers play in the National Football League (NFL), the Tampa Bay Lightning play in the National Hockey League (NHL), and the Tampa Bay Rays play in Major League Baseball (MLB). Additionally, six MLB teams hold their spring training camps in the area.
A number of minor league franchises play in the region as well, including the Tampa Bay Vipers of the XFL, Tampa Bay Rowdies of the United Soccer League, and four minor league baseball teams competing in the Class-A Florida State League.
In intercollegiate sports, the University of South Florida Bulls compete in NCAA Division I, while Eckerd College, Saint Leo University and the University of Tampa compete in NCAA Division II.