Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Packers voted best franchise in sports

From ESPN -

Even during a lockout, the Green Bay Packers have still managed to win another title.

The NFL’s reigning Super Bowl champions have now come out on top in ESPN The Magazine’s ninth annual “Best Franchises In Sports” rankings, in this week’s “Best In Sports Issue” on newsstands Friday, June 17.

The “Best Franchises In Sports” feature is part of ESPN The Magazine’s Ultimate Standings methodology study, which determines an overall ranking for pro sports franchises according to how much they give back to fans for the time, money and emotion they invest in them.

The rankings are determined by a multi-tiered analysis that examines a team’s efficiency in spending fan money as compared to its on-field performance. It also factors in feedback in 21 categories from more than 70,000 fans nationwide, both online at and in polling conducted by both independent third parties.

The Packers were followed by the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning at number two overall in the Best Franchise In Sports rankings. The NFL’s New Orleans Saints came in at number three, with Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at number four and the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs at number five. Additional leaders include the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder at number six, the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers at number seven, Major League Baseball’s Colorado Rockies at number eight, and the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies and NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins rounding out the top at numbers nine and ten respectively.

In all, 122 teams from the NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball were ranked in order, based on a weighted average of scores in eight different categories ranging from the quantitative to the emotionally subjective: “bang for the buck” (24.3%), players (16.6%), fan relations (16.5%), affordability (14.1%), stadium experience (9.1%), ownership (9.0%), title track (6.7%), and coaching (3.9%).

“The best teams in sports find ways to reward their fans’ devotion,” said ESPN The Magazine editor, Peter Keating. “The teams at the top of our Ultimate Standings are winners on the field, but, as we write in the magazine, they’re truly notable for returning fans’ love—keeping core players, discounting tickets, investing in their communities. Value, both economic and emotional, has always figured prominently in our rankings, but this year we heard louder than ever that a team’s commitment to its fans matters more than anything else, more than even new stadiums and championship rings.”

The Packers were the top-scoring team in two of the eight categories, topping all other teams in “stadium experience” and tying for the top spot in “title track”—championships won, or expected to be won, during the lifetime of current fans--with the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins. The Packers also ranked fourth overall in “bang for the buck,” and fifth overall in the categories “coaching” and “ownership.” Their fan base makes up a substantial portion of ownership as the only publicly-owned team in U.S. pro sports.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals (#122) and Washington Redskins (#121), were the two lowest-ranked teams in the Ultimate Standings, ranking lower than the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs (#120), the NBA’s Sacramento Kings (#119) and Minnesota Timberwolves (#118), Major League Baseball’s New York Mets (#117), the NBA’s Toronto Raptors (#116), the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers (#115) and New York Islanders (#114), and the NBA’s Detroit Pistons (#113).

Other notable performers in the Ultimate Standings were:

The Detroit Red Wings ownership group, led by Mike Ilitch, scored highest in the analysis process. Ilitch also owns the Detroit Tigers, who finished 16th overall in this category (the Atlanta Thrashers ownership group, which has since sold the team, scored lowest at 122).
The Memphis Grizzlies scored highest in the category of best “bang for the buck,” determined by wins over the past two seasons per dollar contributed by fans (adjusted for differences in league schedules). The Toronto Maple Leafs scored lowest among all teams in this category, as they also did in the “affordability” category.
The San Antonio Spurs were deemed sports’ best in “fan relations” (openness and consideration of players, coaches and management toward fans) and in “players” (effort on the court/field/ice and likeability off of it); the Bengals scored lowest overall in both these categories, as well as in “title track” (fan expectations for a championship during their lifetime).

ESPN The Magazine’s “Best In Sports Issue” also features an in-depth look at the Best Fans in America (the U.S.-based fans of the Mexican national soccer team); the Best Surprise In Baseball (Matt Joyce of the Tampa Bay Rays), and a compendium of the Best of Everything in sports, from the best sports app to the autograph fans should get right now.

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