Everyone knows organizational rankings mean squat. It's fun to look at a chart and realize that the Maple Leafs offer no bang for the buck - perhaps implosion for the buck is better. Do we really need a study to show us that the Islanders' arena is old and a cupcake stand can't fix a terrible fan experience?
But sports networks and websites, they thrive on lists. ESPN The Mag(azine) has put together their ultimate 2014 rankings and the San Antonio Spurs rank tops overall. The Anaheim Ducks are number two. How was this put together you might ask? From ESPN:
The method to our ultimate madness
First: Consulting firm Maddock Douglas surveyed 1,002 North American fans to form 25 criteria for what you want most in return for the emotion, money and time you invest in the 122 MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL teams.
Second: Teaming with NetReflector, an opinion research firm, ESPN.com asked fans to rate their home teams in each area; more than 101,000 of you did! We grouped grades into the categories below. Royals fans, for example, ranked Kauffman Stadium much higher (29) than owner David Glass (112).
Third: Our final measure, bang for the buck, uses calculations developed with Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center to figure how well teams turn fans' money into wins. FINALLY We combined each team's score across all categories into a weighted average. For example, since fans ranked players as more important than ownership, the former counted for 13.9 percent of a team's final score versus 11.3 percent for the latter. The result? Fan opinion combined with an objective gauge of the cost of winning. Ultimately, everything counts.
Sounds comprehensive. Looking at the hockey teams, you see a few surprises in the top ten that illustrates the increased weight of fan opinion. Besides the Ducks at number two, you get the Kings at number five (which, if we're being honest, is a perfect spot for them), the Tampa Bay Lightning at number six. The Blackhawks are at number ten, and the Blues follow closely behind at number 11. What category is holding the Blues back? The odds of championships in current fans' lifetimes (74th overall!).
The Cardinals take number one in that category, but are 19th overall in the ratings, taking a pop in the "bang for the buck" ratings, affordability (33rd), and coaching (49th). The Blues rank 9th in fan relations, 17th in bang for your buck and ownership, 16th in affordability, 35th in stadium experience, 34th in players, and 28th in coaching.
Does all of this really mean anything? Probably not, but it gives a good general overview that the Blues are affordable, are doing well with what they have, and really, really need to do something to get a championship. Doing so without bumping any of the other categories down would probably be good for business. As fans this gives a decent perspective of how the Blues balance up against other professional teams and NHL teams as well.