My Sports Franchise Can Beat Up Your Sports Franchise
January 21, 2003 11:35 AM   Subscribe

There Ultimate Standings. ESPN has done a ranking of the relative value of each major U.S. sports franchise not in terms of mere victories, or championships, or even felony convictions, but in terms of how much value (as calculated here) each franchise is providing its fans. Stunned to see perrennial winners such as the Yankees & Lakers pushed down to the 20s, while small market teams like Green Bay, San Antonio & Sacramento dominate. Clearly life IS better in the small towns, at least for sports fans. Here's a more in depth explanation of what it all means.
posted by jonson (39 comments total)
grammar nazi thread derailer or not, there is no way i can remain silent with that huge gaping "there" screaming out from the headline that really wanted to be a 'thier'. so there.
posted by quonsar at 11:40 AM on January 21, 2003

Wow. That their is quit a spelling err. You loose, man!
posted by jdroth at 11:46 AM on January 21, 2003

There. Ultimate Standings.


Oh, and quonsar, it's "their," not "thier."
posted by stonerose at 11:47 AM on January 21, 2003

Hopefully I can slip this comment that has nothing to do grammar in while no one is looking.

This is funny; I was actually thinking about something along these lines this morning. We invest so much in sports teams and they don't even have a clue (and in most cases couldn't care) about who we are. More than financially, though - the emotional toll and roller-coaster ride that teams that almost deliver take us on year after year after year can really take it out of you.

My name is iconomy, and I am a Philadelphia Eagles fan.
posted by iconomy at 11:57 AM on January 21, 2003

Oh, and quonsar, it's "their," not "thier."

i knew that.
[shifts eyes left and right]
posted by quonsar at 11:58 AM on January 21, 2003

Raptors ahead of the Maple Leafs? WTF? And no CFL?
posted by bobo123 at 12:02 PM on January 21, 2003

iconomy: My condolences.

However, I've gotta say that the Expos fans deserve a higher rating. Give us a decent owner -- and don't even mention Loria -- and we'd respond.

What US city would continue to support a team that sells off its best players every time they deserve a raise? And if the voters don't buy you a stadium you claim they don't support the team.

What happens when sports teams run out of cities to hijack for free stadiums and tax relief?
posted by ?! at 12:03 PM on January 21, 2003

Whoa!! That's not a grammar/spelling error for the record, that's a typo. It's "THE Ultimate Standings", but my original line was "There can be only one". I changed it at the last minute, but didn't copy/paste over entirely. Not to worry quonsar, etc. I too would be ashamed and embarassed by such a goofy error, and I'm embarrassed enough as it is.
posted by jonson at 12:03 PM on January 21, 2003

This survey completely misses out on the most important thing a sports franchise possesses, and that's history. There's no conceivable way that expansion teams from any sport are worth more than the Yankees (Mavericks and Spurs in the top 5? WTF?). There's just something almost mythical about the Bronx Bombers, and there's no way to measure that.

Apologies to any Mets fans. No, I take that back. Mets suck.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:04 PM on January 21, 2003

?! - just so you know, it's not a ranking of fans, but a ranking of how worthy the teams are of their fans love, sweat & tears. Read the methodology, specifically the section about Dallas Mavs vs. Yankees.
posted by jonson at 12:07 PM on January 21, 2003

The Green Bay Packers came out #1 in affordability (a/w/a #1 overall). I wonder how much those tix cost? I imagine it doesn't matter much since Lambeau Field's probably sold out through the middle of the mid-28th Century or so.
posted by alumshubby at 12:09 PM on January 21, 2003

Let's say I've got a free round-trip flight and box seats to either a Mavericks home game or a Yankees home game. Does whether or not Mark Cuban answers his own email weigh into that decision, or does watching a game in Yankee Stadium carry a little more clout?

posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:19 PM on January 21, 2003

Sorry to be so Yankee-centric. Must be that pinstriped blood from my father's side of the family.

Never mind me. Carry on!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:28 PM on January 21, 2003

Mike Shanahan, Ray Rhodes and company earn a coach's ranking of only 49? WTF?
posted by Wulfgar! at 12:28 PM on January 21, 2003

Clearly life IS better in the small towns, at least for sports fans.

Yet another reason why I live in New York City.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 12:29 PM on January 21, 2003

Lambeau Field's probably sold out through the middle of the mid-28th Century or so.

Unless, of course, you happen to live in Brown County.
posted by *burp* at 12:42 PM on January 21, 2003

I'm so proud of my hometown team, the Cincinnati Bengals. They are sooooo worthy of their last place ranking it ain't even funny. It's painful to consider that my tax money funded the new Paul Brown stadium and it seems that the fans finally have a a way to voice their disapproval. Seems to make more sense to me to pour tax dollars into building better schools than building stadiums for big losers with little fan appreciation.
posted by VelvetHellvis at 12:53 PM on January 21, 2003

In my prior post, I should have linked to this insightful article.
posted by VelvetHellvis at 1:00 PM on January 21, 2003

Tampa Bay Bucs at 20?

posted by taumeson at 1:09 PM on January 21, 2003

It's fitting that the Packers--the only publicly owned major league sports franchise in the country--come in first.

Every sports fans should see a game at Lambaeu Field at some point in their lives, preferably in December to get the full "frozen tundra" effect. It's really a remarkable experience. It's just this little tiny Northern Wisconsin town with a giant football stadium. Tickets through brokers are kind of expensive, but totally worth it, IMO.

alum: I think session ticket holders pay something like $52 per ticket. (but don't quote me)
posted by boltman at 1:18 PM on January 21, 2003

I enjoyed the little tidbit that the Red Sox are the most expensive franchise in the country to follow over the course of a season. Sox fans can cry all they want about George, but it appears to be John Henry et. al. raking 'em over the coals...

And proving the utter uselessness of this list; who the f*ck wants to live in Green Bay? Take your #1 ranking....please!
posted by jalexei at 1:20 PM on January 21, 2003

I agree that the history factor is being strongly neglected. I'm a die-hard Niners fan, and I think 5 Superbowls are worthy of something higher than 31st. I definitely don't see how the Ravens are ranked higher just because they won it in 2000 (and I quote "none of it would have mattered without Superbowl XXXV") and the Patriots are higher because they won it last year in a shiny new stadium.

mr crash davis is right that expansion teams, especially ones created very recently, have not earned their fans as much as a historic franchise has no matter how well they've done in the past 5 years. Though I despise the Yankees for their ways, they do have history and that matters. Recent success is just that. The Ravens won the Superbowl in 2000, but now they've gone to salary cap hell. It took the Niners 2 years to get out of a salary cap hole that other teams would have completely buckled under. These rankings are forgetting that consistent excellence is more important than short term memories. We'll see how the Ravens do.
posted by swank6 at 1:24 PM on January 21, 2003

can i get a 'hell yes' for your 2001 world champion arizona diamondbacks
posted by kjh at 1:31 PM on January 21, 2003

I agree with bobo123 about that Raptors/Leafs thing.

If the Raptors were to win the NBA title, there would be a hell of a party in the streets.

But it would be NOTHING compared to the deafening roar that would eminate from the core of Toronto if the Leafs were to win the Stanley Cup.

Toronto is a hockey city first and foremost. It has had terrible owners, terrible teams, and terrible ticket prices. And it STILL sold out the arena. And still sold out the fan memorabilia. And still topped the sports TV viewing charts.
posted by grum@work at 1:51 PM on January 21, 2003

kjh: No.
posted by maniactown at 1:52 PM on January 21, 2003

Boltman, thanks for bringing up the public ownership issue. I had forgotten that tidbit about the Packers.

VH, I am right with you on the Bengals. I'd imagine that if this survey looked at teams before the death of Paul Brown, the Bengals would have been in the upper reaches of that survey.
posted by Dick Paris at 1:57 PM on January 21, 2003

1/21/03. The day Metafilter changed to Wisconsinfilter.
posted by ejoey at 1:58 PM on January 21, 2003

grum@work, true all of that, but despite the fact that if the Leafs won a cup then Detroit would never dare call itself 'Hockeytown' ever again, those terrible ticket prices and owners and teams and history do count for something. Leafs fans get shit on because we're crazed enough about the team to take it.

This goes for Yankees, Red Sox, SF Giants, and most of the other Great Big Budget Teams out there, by the way.
posted by chicobangs at 2:31 PM on January 21, 2003

As a proud Yankees-hater (until the World Series, when I always root for the AL), I gotta reluctantly agree with mr_crash_davis. The experience of attending a game in Yankee Stadium is uncanny. I've been at the stadium one time, and I'll carry the memory to my grave. It's an amazing atmosphere and the fans are wonderful. At the top of the first inning the fans in the bleachers call each Yankee's name, and the player has to acknowledge the crowd before they will stop calling his name and move on to the next player. I guess you have to be there to appreciate how generous and wonderful a gesture that is, both from the fans and the players. I've never seen anything like it.
posted by Holden at 3:00 PM on January 21, 2003

grum@work, true all of that, but despite the fact that if the Leafs won a cup then Detroit would never dare call itself 'Hockeytown' ever again, ...

It tickles me that people still get so worked up about the "Hockeytown" marketing gimmick. Without the ire of other team's fans to drive it, I seriously doubt it would have gone as far as it has.

Slightly more on topic, I'd be interested to see where the Wings would've ended up on this ranking with Scotty still behind the bench.
posted by snarkywench at 3:07 PM on January 21, 2003

Seriously, I think that the point about Yankee Stadium (or Fenway, or whatever) is kind of the point of the whole article; it's not a measure of how many wins you'll see, or how good you'll feel at your ballpark due to the history of the place, but rather how hard is your team currently working for you, to win your hard earned dollars?
posted by jonson at 3:30 PM on January 21, 2003

Are you trying to tell me that after all those World Series appearances and back-to-back winning seasons, my beloved Cubs only made it to number 82?
posted by einarorn at 4:43 PM on January 21, 2003

The one time I got to go to a Packers game at Lambeau, I was about 18 or so, and I think Pisarkiewicz (sp?) was the QB -- I got to use somebody else's season ticket that day, coming up on the bus from Milwaukee. Never been so cold and drunk at the same time in my life.
posted by alumshubby at 5:41 PM on January 21, 2003

Well, history isn't being completely ignored--my beloved Red Wings are in at #8, and they certainly have history.
posted by eilatan at 6:10 PM on January 21, 2003

At least they got one thing right, the Wings are above the Avalanche :).

And the tigers and lions are down almost at the bottom. Although that might not be reflective of the fan support of teams like the lions. Anyone having to endure season after season of heartbreaks like the lions deserve more.

Oh well, there's hope. After Mornhingwheg (however the hell that's spelled) gets fired after next year, we should have an inroad to bring Mariucci near his old pal Izzo.

Also amusing that the Wings get a 1 for owner, while the tigers get a 105. Shows that the Illitch's do a much better job with the important team.
posted by piper28 at 8:54 PM on January 21, 2003

Wow. Boston Red Sox at 89. Tampa Bay Bucaneers at 20.

As someone who has lived in both places, I must respectfully disagree (respectfully = scream at the top of my lungs in astonishment and disbelief). While the Bucs are doing fine this year (and I'm sure a reason why they rank so high), I remember back in the 80's when they had one of the longest losing streaks in the history of football. It actually made front-page news when they won. Now sure, the Red Sox haven't won a World Series in nearly a hundred years... but they've at least won the pennant a few times.

And to compare Tampa Stadium with Fenway Park is like comparing Anna Nicole Smith with Laetitia Casta. One is trashy and boorish, the other is Fenway Park. And there is no way you could convince me that Bucs fans are more in love with their team than Sox fans. So, in conclusion, no.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:00 AM on January 22, 2003

jonson: I realized it didn't rank the fans, but was referring to the comment on the Expos: "Since les habitants don't think Vladimir Guerrero's worth paying $9 U.S. (the lowest average price in the majors) to see, Montreal will play 22 home games in Puerto Rico in a packed 18,000-seat park. Hola Vlad! "

Owners claim that fans should support the team through thick and thin. Bull. We should support the team, when the owners don't try to screw us. The Damn Yankees have had loyal support for the last 80+ years because the owners wanted to be the best team in the league. (I am ignoring pre-Ruth and the dread mid-60s.)

I don't have the numbers in front of me, but the Expos outdrew the Brewers in the years before Loria was foisted on us. No mention of contracting that team, was there? :)

MLB found they can't blackmail the Montreal taxpayers into supporting their boondoggle. Let them move to Puerto RIco and have all American taxpayers foot the bill.

civil disobedient: Come on? I've been see the Rays play. That stadium is more like Calista Flockhart than Anna Nicole Smith.
posted by ?! at 6:55 AM on January 22, 2003

But it would be NOTHING compared to the deafening roar that would eminate from the core of Toronto if the Leafs were to win the Stanley Cup.

Yeah, but we'll never have to worry about that ever happening again, will we?

Oh, and ?!: I think the article's comment on us Montrealers not paying to see Vlad is legit: Sure, the survey reveals a huge depth of hatred for 'Spos ownership ('tho I'd be curious if they fans were responding to the Brochu, Loria or current era.) But that only goes so far. Dontcha think more fans would be turning out if the Expos were winning some more games and didn't have a revolving door roster? Beyond owner hatred, the survey also reveals Expos fans hate the stadium -- third worst in NA -- and think the club does a poor job of bringing the players to the city.

Hating Loria et al is fun -- but it's a cheap out.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:15 AM on January 22, 2003

lupus: "Dontcha think more fans would be turning out if the Expos were winning some more games and didn't have a revolving door roster?"

I do think. And, that's my point. It isn't "les habitants" who don't want to pay Vlad what he's worth. It's the owners -- not just Loria -- who wanted to pretend Montreal is a "small market" team. Then use that excuse not pay to keep a team together long enough to build a true fan base. People will come see a good product.

I've been to quite a few baseball stadiums and Olympic is bad, but the owners need to pony up the cash to build a better one. Not the taxpayers. And no freebies means your team will move. As long as there is a New Orleans or, god forbid, a Louisville, begging for teams and promising the moon --- owners will move teams.

Hating Loria is cheap, but at least it's well directed hatred.
posted by ?! at 8:14 PM on January 22, 2003

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