This month ESPN Magazine came out with their annual franchise issue in which they compare all professional sports teams to come up with the best professional franchise in America. They only compare teams from the 4 major sports (Baseball, Basketball, Football, and Hockey). This leaves 122 franchises to be ranked according to a handful of metrics.
There are 8 categories that each team is ranked on.
- Title Track: Championships won or expected within the lifetime of current fans.
- Ownership: Honesty and loyalty to core players and to the community.
- Coaching: strength of on-field leadership.
- Players: Effort on the field, likability off it.
- Fan Relations: Courtesy of players, coaches and front offices toward fans and how well a team uses technology to reach them.
- Affordability: Price of tickets, parking and concessions
- Stadium Experience: Quality of venue, fan-friendliness of environment, frequency of game-day promotions.
- Bang for the Buck: Wins in the past two years per fan dollar, adjusted for league schedule.
The first 7 categories are decided by online polls that ESPN hosts. Here is where it gets a little confusing. Not all categories are ranked the same. ESPN surveyed sports fans to decide how important one factor was to another, for instance, fans felt coaching should only be worth 3.1% of the score while fan relations deserved a whopping 25.2%.
The last category was determined by a metric that measured how well teams convert revenues from fans into performance on the field.
So, now the big question remains…who took first? and where did the Marlins place?
You may be surprised to find out that the Memphis Grizzlies took first in their rankings. Miami did not fare so well. The Marlins placed 120th out of 122 teams. The worst team on the list was the Sacramento Kings.
It was little surprise that the Marlins placed dead last in one of the 8 categories. I bet you can’t guess which one? In the least shocking turn of events ever, it was “ownership”. Enough has been said about Jeffrey Loria recently, and I won’t get into that again, just know that your fellow fans rank him the worst.
The Marlins also placed second to last in the “fan relations” category. I feel like this reflects more on the disconnect between the front office and the fans.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom for Miami though. They were able to get into the top 100 in 2 out of the 8 categories. They finished 88th for “affordability”, and they managed their highest ranking in “title track” finishing 51st.
If you are interested in seeing all of the scores and how the Marlins compare to the other teams click on this link.
I am encouraged by the “title track” score. Even though this season has been absolutely dismal, I do believe there is a silver lining in it. The Marlins are young and they have some talent. This talent will get more experience and continue to improve. There are some similarities to the makeup of this current team and the team that won the World Series in 2003. I am not saying that this team is going to contend next year, but if they can make the right decision with Giancarlo Stanton regarding either signing him to a long-term contract or trading him to get pieces back, than they will be close in a couple of years.
I guess as Marlins fans, that is all we can hope for.