Every year, ESPN the Magazine ranks all of the major pro sports franchises from 1 to 122. This year’s cream of the crop is the Tampa Bay Lightning, while the San Francisco 49ers get the distinct honor of being the absolute worst.
Locally, both the Flyers and Phils made big jumps. The Fly guys, 58th overall, jumped 23 spots from 2015. In the combined categories of title track, ownership, coaching, players, fan relations, affordability, stadium experience, and bang for your buck, they improved a total of 147 spots. Part of that is due to the lingering legacy of Ed Snider:
It’s not often that the suits in the suites endear themselves to the nobodies in the nosebleeds, but Snider — whose enthusiasm and drive to bring the Stanley Cup back to Philly rivaled even the most fervent Flyers fan’s — managed just that feat. Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that just about six months after his passing, Philadelphia posthumously named the team’s ownership as its most favorable asset in our rankings: No. 24 overall.
Though it ain’t cheap. “A night out in South Philly,” the Magazine says, “runs Flyers fans $104.73, on average. That is sixth highest in the NHL and 20 percent higher than the league average.” That hurt them.
The Phillies found themselves leaping 30 spots; their first year gaining on the rankings in the last six. Citizens Bank Park rated as the 63rd best stadium experience in all of sports– it’s not cost-effective:
The Phillies’ average ticket price of $41.50 ranks fourth-highest among MLB teams, behind that of only the Red Sox, Yankees and Cubs and $15 less than the average price for the division-rival Mets.
But coaching was a huge upgrade. Pete Mackanin ranks 78th, while Ryne Sandberg ranked dead last in 2015.
The Eagles dropped 13 spots from 2015 (to 86th overall), a casualty of the voting deadline being in late August. Opinions and outlook on the team have improved by leaps and bounds since then, though the pre-season opinion of Doug Pederson was 69 not-nice spots below where Chip Kelly was last season. Even with all of that, they land one spot ahead of the Cowboys.
And finally, the Sixers experienced a a short stumble down to #102 from #98 last year. The team’s only top-fifty ranking is in affordability, and they have the 12th best average cost per game in the NBA ($68.54 with food/drink/ticket/parking). But the rest is bad:
“The 76ers dropped in all categories but ownership [Ed. note: HOW?], affordability and stadium experience this year and proved egregiously unpopular when it came to fan relations [Ed. note: Okay, makes sense now.] and bang for the buck (third-worst in the NBA for both). Even a fiscally reasonable night out in South Philly, it seems, can’t atone for the team’s woeful showing on the scoreboard: Fans ranked the Sixers’ ability to “consistently win more games than they lose” as — surprise — worst in the NBA. The only two teams across all four sports to out-lose them? The San Diego Padres and Cleveland Browns.
Go screw, Cleveland.
With the addition of Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, and eventually Ben Simmons, the Sixers should experience a bump next year. The Eagles definitely will, and the Phils and Flyers should continue to rise. There were dark days behind, and it’s not light yet, but it’s getting there.
All the methodology mumbo jumbo can be seen at the very bottom over here.