MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WCBI/NBA) — The Grizzlies were named the best overall professional sports franchise among 122 teams in the four major North American professional sports leagues (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL) in ESPN The Magazine’s 2013 Ultimate Standings, released today.
“We are thrilled to congratulate the Memphis Grizzlies on being ranked ESPN The Magazine’s best overall North American professional sports franchise,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said. “The team works tirelessly on and off the court to serve its fans and the entire Memphis community.”
“We are energized and humbled to be named the best overall North American professional sports franchise,” Grizzlies Chief Executive Officer Jason Levien said. “This outstanding honor exemplifies the commitment to excellence from our chairman and controlling owner Robert Pera, our players, and our basketball and business operations and demonstrates the strong bond with our fans, whose passion is unparalleled among professional teams.”
The Memphis Grizzlies are entering their 13th season in the Bluff City and 19th season in the NBA. The Grizzlies reached new heights in their first season under new management, setting a franchise record for regular season wins (56) and reaching the 2013 Western Conference Finals. The Grizzlies are renowned both nationally and internationally for their commitment to excellence and loyalty to the Memphis community, being honored as the best overall North American professional sports franchise by ESPN The Magazine in 2013 and winning the prestigious Beyond Sport Team of the Year Award in 2012.
The overall ranking measures how much the organization gives back to fans for the time, money and emotion invested in its product. The poll combines fan opinions across a comprehensive range of issues, covering 25 topics across eight major categories – Affordability, Bang for the Buck, Coaching, Fan Relations, Ownership, Players, Stadium Experience and Title Track – and combining all teams’ scores into a weighted average.
With the rankings tabulated from nearly 60,000 responses, the Grizzlies finished with strong marks across the board, ranking second overall in three major categories: Affordability, Bang for the Buck and Players. “Affordability” is comprised by the price of tickets, parking and concessions. “Bang for the Buck,” a category topped by the Grizzlies in the 2011 and 2012 polls, measures how efficiently teams convert revenue from fans into performances on the court. “Players” is described as the players’ effort on the court and the likeability off of it.
Memphis also finished in the top 10 in two other major categories. The Grizzlies ranked seventh in “Stadium Experience,” which measures the quality of the arena, fan-friendliness of the environment and frequency of game-day promotions, and placed eighth in “Fan Relations,” defined as the courtesy by players, coaches and front office members toward fans and the resources the team uses to reach them.
The Grizzlies boasted top-five rankings in six of the 25 sub-categories and 13 top-10 ranks, a first for the Memphis franchise.
The Grizzlies are one of only four NBA franchises (San Antonio Spurs in 2004 and 2006, Detroit Pistons in 2005, and Oklahoma City Thunder in 2012) to be ranked the top overall team since ESPN introduced its annual survey in 2003. The Grizzlies have finished in the top 10 in three consecutive seasons, ranking fifth overall in 2012 and ninth overall in 2011, showing consistent improvement after placing No. 113 in 2008. The Grizzlies join the likes of the Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, Indianapolis Colts and Los Angeles Angels as past winners.
Fans who want to support the Memphis Grizzlies and purchase 2013-14 Season Tickets, or 11- and 20-Game Packs can do so by calling (901) 888-HOOP or going online to grizzlies.com. Season Tickets start at $11 per game. 20-game packs start at $12 per game and 11-game packs start as low as $14 per game. For more information on the Grizzlies, please visit grizzlies.com, ‘like’ Memphis Grizzlies on Facebook or follow on Twitter (@memgrizz).
ESPN The Magazine’s 2013 Ultimate Standings, Top 9 Overall Franchises
1. Memphis Grizzlies (NBA)
2. San Antonio Spurs (NBA)
3. Indiana Pacers (NBA)
4. Oklahoma City Thunder (NBA)
5. Green Bay Packers (NFL)
6. Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB)
7. Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL)
8. Anaheim Ducks (NHL)
9. Ottawa Senators (NHL)