Annual Comprehensive Pro Team Rankings featured in “The Franchise Issue,” on Newsstands Friday
San Antonio Spurs, Indiana Pacers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Green Bay Packers round-out the Top Five
For sports fans, “value” may be more valuable than ever.
So much so, in fact, that the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies – widely known for their grit and grind style of play – have been crowned the Best Sports Franchise in North America, as determined by ESPN The Magazine’s 11th annual Ultimate Standings survey, the results of which are featured in The Mag’s “Franchise Issue” on newsstands Friday. Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton, who is profiled in the issue, is featured on the cover.
Every year, ESPN The Magazine compiles the results of fan surveys and conducts financial analysis to determine which teams in the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL offer the greatest rewards for all the emotion, money and time that fans invest in them. The rankings factor in feedback in 25 categories from more than 60,000 fans nationwide, as well as teams’ efficiency in generating on-field performance from fan dollars.
The Grizzlies, who finished among the top 10 in 13 of the 25 categories, including “likeable players,” and “bang for the buck,” topped this year’s 122-team Ultimate Standings – one of four NBA teams to rank in the top five overall.
Last year’s Ultimate Standings leader, the Oklahoma City Thunder, finished fourth this year, slipping slightly down the ranks behind the San Antonio Spurs at No. 2 and the Indiana Pacers at No. 3 and just ahead of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers at No. 5.
Rounding out the top 10 are MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks (6th), the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins (7th), Anaheim Ducks (8th) and Ottawa Senators (9th) and the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens (10th).
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 areas ranging from the quantitative to the emotionally subjective: fan relations (25.2%), affordability (17.4%), “bang for the buck” (16.8%), stadium experience (12.4%), players (11.30%), ownership (10.2%), title track (3.6%), and coaching (3.1%).
The Grizzlies scored high across the board, ranking second overall in “players (effort and likability),” “affordability” and “bang for your buck,” seventh in “stadium experience,” and eighth in “fan relations.” The overall experience of attending a game in Memphis bumps the Grizzlies to the top of the list.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, the NBA’s Sacramento Kings (122nd) and the NFL’s New York Jets (121st) were the two lowest-ranked teams in the Ultimate Standings, ranking beneath the MLB’s Miami Marlins (120th), NHL’s Toronto Maple Leaves (119th) and NBA’s Phoenix Suns (118th).
ESPN The Magazine’s “Franchise Issue” also features stories on the “forgotten” quarterback (Newton), the undisputed two-sport champ (University of Florida); and the story behind the mysterious 1950’s fire that revived a franchise (Green Bay Packers).
Following is the top 10 overall franchises in the Ultimate Standings for 2013:
- Memphis Grizzlies (NBA)
- San Antonio Spurs (NBA)
- Indiana Pacers (NBA)
- Oklahoma City Thunder (NBA)
- Green Bay Packers (NFL)
- Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB)
- Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL)
- Anaheim Ducks (NHL)
- Ottawa Senators (NHL)
- Baltimore Ravens (NFL)
For more information on the Ultimate Standings, visit espn.go.com.