While magazine rankings might not provide the final judgments about franchise health, the latest batch of franchise rankings from ESPN The Magazine is truly incredible. The Magazine’s 2011 “Ultimate Standings” — which provide “an overall ranking for pro sports franchises according to how much they give back to fans for the time, money and emotion they invest in them” — has the Redskins ranked 121st among 122 North American pro franchises.
That means the Redskins are behind the Raiders, who finished 104th. They’re behind the Clippers, who were 105th. They’re behind the Bills (107th), Knicks (109th) and Wizards (110th, sorry Ted.) They’re behind the Islanders (114th), and the Thrashers (115th), who aren’t even the Thrashers any more. They’re behind the chaotic Mets (117th), and the flagging Kings (119th).
In fact, the Skins are ahead only of the Bengals, putting them in territory not often associated with a franchise that won three world titles within the past 30 years.
Even more troubling, perhaps, was the result of the ESPN fan survey, asking fans to rate on a scale of 1-5 how their commitment to their favorite team had changed in recent years. The Redskins finished tied with the Kings for 116th in that category.
No D.C. area team was the best or the worst in any single category. The Ravens finished 21st overall, followed by the Caps (27th), Orioles (67th), Nats (78th), Wizards (110th) and Skins (121st). Last year, the Caps were 11th, followed by the Nats (94th), Redskins (102nd) and Wizards (120th).
The rankings, according to the Mag, are based on efficiency in spending fan money compared to on-field performance, while also factoring in feedback from 70,000 fans in online and independent polls. The categories include “bang for the buck” (24.3%), players (16.6%), fan relations (16.5%), affordability (14.1%), stadium experience (9.1%), ownership (9.0%), title track (6.7%), and coaching (3.9%). The full rankings are in the “Best in Sports” issue that hits newstands on Friday.