According to ESPN The Magazine, the Toronto Maple Leafs are the worst sports team in North America.
For the last ten years, ESPN Magazine has released its Ultimate Standings, a list that ranks every professional sports franchise in the NBA, MLB, NHL and NFL from 1st to 122nd. All of the major North American leagues.
Voting by fans via a poll conducted by consulting firm Maddock Douglas and researchers at the University of Oregon’s Warsaw Sports Marketing Center, (the mothership of sports business) came up with the ranking based on the following categories:
Bang For The Buck (BNG): Wins during the past three years (regular season plus postseason) per revenues directly from fans, adjusted for league schedules.
Fan Relations (FRL): Openness and consideration toward fans by players, coaches and management.
Ownership (OWN): Honesty and loyalty to core players and local community.
Affordability (AFF): Price of tickets, parking and concessions.
Stadium Experience (STX): Quality of arena and game-day promotions as well as friendliness of environment.
Players (PLA): Effort on the field and likability off it.
Coaching (CCH): Strength of on-field leadership.
Title Track (TTR): Championships already won or expected in the lifetime of current fans.
The top spot went to the Oklahoma City Thunder (1), followed by the Green Bay Packers (2) and San Antonio Spurs (3).
The Phoenix Coyotes took 6th place. The highest seeded hockey team on the list. Super weird considering how important hockey clubs are to Canadian cities. Maybe they scored high in fan relations and players because of BizNasty? Probably the most public, open and friendly athlete on the Earth right now.
At the other end of the list, the Charlotte Bobcats (120) and Sacramento Kings (121) followed up by the Toronto Maple Leafs (122) make up the top three worst teams in sports.
Some of the seeds were questionable. The Boston Red Sox (117) New York Knicks (113) and Montreal Canadiens (111) should have placed better. While NBA champions the Miami Heat (31) didn’t break the top 20, nor did the NHL Stanley Cup winners, the Los Angeles Kings (32).
The list didn’t dig very deeply into franchise history or future expectations. For example, look at the Los Angeles Lakers (89) wikipedia page and Google news feed and then their seed. One word: arithmetic.
Sure, it’s more affordable to go to a Green Bay home game because Wisconsin is generally pretty cheap. Cities, like Los Angeles, Toronto, Boston, and New York City are overall way more expensive than Oklahoma or New Jersey due to the economic opportunities they offer.
Smaller cities also seem to bring more community, e.g. Pittsburgh is a huge sports town. A ton of smaller market teams ranked high.
Lets get back to Toronto being the worst team in North America. Justified? Culturally and historically as a sports franchise, the Leafs have more to offer than half the teams on the list. If right now, the Leafs have hit rock bottom, then this isn’t so bad.
Within the last summer, the foundation of Toronto Maple Leafs has changed. A new era has begun.
Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment has been purchased by Bell and Rogers, two of the biggest firms in Canada. It can be said with some legitimacy that the previous owners, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, never put its heart and soul into the 95-year old hockey club or its Air Canada Centre roommate, the Toronto Raptors. Although, they did do other great things for sports in the city of Toronto.
This week, Tom Anselmi was promoted to president and chief operating officer. Additionally, the search is on for a new MLSE CEO. Meanwhile, Bell and Rogers may still make other changes within the company. Both firms have been completely open that winning is a top priority.