In major professional sports, the “winning is everything” mentality is frequently trumpeted as a way to measure a franchise’s success. But wins are merely a piece of the pie when it comes to running a truly successful team.
Business Week just released its rankings of the “Smartest Spenders in Sports,” and the top two teams on their list — which features every team in the four major American pro sports leagues — have never won a championship.
Bloomberg’s metric uses payroll to calculate how much teams spent per win over the last five seasons. And this year they’ve added bonus points for wins over .500, playoff victories and championships.
Despite a payroll that ranks sixth-lowest in Major League Baseball, the Rays reached the playoffs in three of the last four seasons while winning a pair of AL East crowns. The Rangers, by contrast, currently have the sixth-highest payroll in the majors and advanced to the World Series in each of the last two years.
The rest of the top 10 in order: Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Pittsburgh Penguins, New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, Boston Bruins. See the full list here.
So where did D.C.’s pro sports franchises rank?
The Washington Redskins and shrewd spending have rarely been mentioned in the same sentence during Daniel Snyder’s tenure as owner of the franchise. And while the massive haul of draft picks the Redskins dealt for the right to draft quarterback Robert Griffin III may pay off in the long run, the names Albert Haynesworth, Deion Sanders, Bruce Smith, Jeff George, Adam Archuleta, Jeremiah Trotter, Donovan McNabb and Brandon Lloyd were enough to land the Redskins all the way down at No. 29 on the list among NFL franchises and No. 102 overall. The only teams to rank below them were the Raiders, Lions and Rams.
Among the other D.C. franchises, the Capitals had the best ranking at No. 7 among NHL teams and No. 15 overall. The Nationals ranked 14th in MLB (53rd overall) and the Wizards were 25th in the NBA (106).
The New York Islanders (119), New York Mets (120), Minnesota Timberwolves (121) and St. Louis Rams (122) finished last in their respective sports.