ESPN The Magazine: Pacers Named Third-Best Sports Franchise of 2013
The combination of a successful season with affordable tickets, a top-shelf arena and likable players has the Pacers in the top tier of ESPN The Magazine’s new list of Best Sports Franchises. The Pacers finished No. 3, just behind the Memphis Grizzlies and the San Antonio Spurs.
NBA teams filled out the top four spots as the Oklahoma City Thunder came in fourth. The Green Bay Packers (5), Arizona Diamondbacks (6), Pittsburgh Penguins (7), Anaheim Ducks (8), Ottawa Senators (9) and Baltimore Ravens (10) rounded out the top 10.
In 2012, the Pacers were slotted at No. 4 — below the Thunder, Packers, and the Spurs.
More than 60,000 fans nationwide filled out a survey that covered 25 categories and evaluated teams on items such as ”has players who act professionally on and off the field” to “makes it easy to buy tickets through the team website.” Then, ESPN conducts financial analysis to see which of the four major sports — NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL — offers the greatest rewards for their fandom.
The eight major categories, based on feedback from fans, are below:
Fan Relations (FRL): Openness and consideration toward fans by players, coaches and management.
Affordability (AFF): Price of tickets, parking and concessions.
Bang For The Buck (BNG): Wins during the past three years (regular season plus postseason) per revenues directly from fans, adjusted for league schedules.
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.
Ownership (OWN): Honesty and loyalty to core players and local community.
Title Track (TTR): Championships already won or expected in the lifetime of current fans.
Coaching (CCH): Strength of on-field leadership.
122 teams from the four leagues were evaluated and the NFL’s New York Jets (121) and NBA’s Sacramento Kings (122) finished at the bottom. The full story can be read in this week’s “Franchise Issue” of ESPN The Magazine.