Recreation and Sport Studies

Studying, Experiencing and Facilitating Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport through Wellness and Physical Activity

ESPN ranks all 122 professional sport franchises in North America

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These rankings combine fan opinions with an objective measure of how well teams turn dollars into wins.

Criteria were:

Affordability (11.3%): Price of tickets, parking and concessions

Coaching (3.2%): Strength of on-field leadership

Fan relations (25%): Courtesy by players, coaches and front office toward fans, plus how well a team uses technology to reach fans

Ownership (13.1%): Honesty; loyalty to core players and the local community

Players (14.6%): Effort on the field, likability off it

Stadium experience (9.8%): Quality of arena; fan-friendliness of environment; frequency of game-day promotions

Title track (4.6%): Championships won or expected within the lifetime of current fans

Bang for the buck (18.3%): Wins in the past two years per fan dollar, adjusted for league schedules

Spoiler alert:

Rated last (#122 of 122) was: 



UNB Faculty of Kinesiology: Bachelor of Recreation & Sports Studies, MBA in Sport & Recreation Management, and Master of Arts in Sport & Recreation Studies

One thought on “ESPN ranks all 122 professional sport franchises in North America

  1. ESPN recently released the 2016 rankings of all 122 professional sports franchises. ( My thoughts on these latest rankings are a bit all over the map, but bear with me:

    The Tampa Bay Lightning have jolted to the top of this year’s rankings, up 3 spots from their position last year. While the Lightening have been one of dominant franchises in the NHL for years, is anyone else shocked (pun intended) by this? Perhaps we shouldn’t be.

    Tampa Bay owner Jeff Vinik has been praised extensively for the work he has done for the franchise. His first move was hiring the great Steve Yzerman as General Manager of the franchise to develop the on-ice product, while Vinik has worked behind the scenes focusing on ways to enhance the fan experience and truly turn Tampa Bay into a hockey town.

    NHL Teams from non-traditional markets all fared well in these rankings, with the Nashville Predators and Florida Panthers also earning spots in the top 10.

    Despite the chorus of boos, he receives while presenting Lord Stanley’s mug to the League champion every year, Gary Bettman has done a phenomenal job during his tenure in terms of increasing league revenues and visibility (Gatehouse, 2012) The popularity of the sport has risen steadily since he became Commissioner, a growth that can largely be attributed to his agenda of expanding the League to these non-traditional markets. Not all of these decisions made sense, or panned out. However, without Bettman the League would arguably not be in the state it is today.

    Does the success of the Lightening, Panthers, and Predators in this ranking bode well for the imminent arrival of a Las Vegas franchise next season? Only time will tell, but with a strong ownership group the opportunities are plentiful in the Sunbelt.


    To further analyze this year’s rankings, it is interesting to note that the San Francisco 49ers are ranked last (Don’t get too excited Maple Leafs Fans, you’ve only move up 4 spots to #118) The 49ers tragic fall from grace has been well publicized. What effect has the lack of fan support, controversial firing of Jim Harbaugh and poor record had on the recent political squabbles of the team and the Colin Kaepernick- national anthem situation? Maybe I am opening a can of worms that delves too far from the criteria of the ESPN rankings, but it is interesting to consider what the reaction may have been if Kaepernick played on a team with higher rankings across the board.

    Gatehouse, J. (2012). The instigator: How Gary Bettman remade the NHL and
    changed the game forever. Chicago, Illinois.: Triumph Books.


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