ESPN The Magazine: Sharks Rank #12 In Best Fan-Friendly Franchise In All US Sports


Last week, ESPN the Magazine printed an article detailing the most fan-friendly sports organization out of all the four major sports leagues in America.

Out of all the teams in MLB, NBA, NHL and the NFL (122 total teams), the New Orleans Saints topped the list at number one. They were followed by Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Angels, Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Here is how the Bay Area teams ranked:
12 - San Jose Sharks
61 - San Francisco Giants
77 - San Francisco 49ers
79 - Oakland Athletics
110 - Golden State Warriors
115 - Oakland Raiders

Follow the jump to see how these rankings were determined.

The Ultimate Standings rank MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL franchises according to how much they give back to fans for all of the time, money and emotion they invest in them. Here’s how: Working with Maddock Douglas, an Elmhurst, Ill., consulting firm, we surveyed 1,000 fans across North America to find out what they want most from their favorite teams.

Our poll covered 21 separate topics, from 'has won or will win a championship while I’m a fan' to 'has likable players' to 'provides avenue for fan feedback.' ESPN.com then asked fans to rate their favorite clubs in each of these categories. We received more than 56,000 completed responses—thanks to all of you who voted!—and grouped answers into seven of the eight broad categories listed above.

For the eighth category, Bang for the Buck, we analyzed how efficiently teams convert dollars spent by fans into wins on the field (regular and postseason). Researchers at the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon assisted us with these calculations.

Finally, we combined each team’s scores across all eight categories into one final, weighted score, taking each category’s importance from our national survey. (For example, fans rated Stadium Experience nearly three times higher than Coaching, so that’s how much more it counts in our formula.) Result: the only list of rankings that combines fan perspective with an objective measure of how well teams turn fan dollars into wins.

Here are the eight categories:

  1. Fan relations 18.5%
  2. Bang for the Buck 22.5%
  3. Players 17.4%
  4. Coaching 3.4%
  5. Title Track 5.7%
  6. Ownership 10.3%
  7. Affordability 12.6%
  8. Stadium Experience 9.6%

Also, the Sharks got a nod for having the best seat in any sports venue in America.

The best seat in sports has endless leg and elbow room (it’s the only seat in Row 17) and, within 40 feet, concessions selling grub ’n libations from burritos to fine wines. Add to that the cross-ice sight of arguably the best entrance in sports—out of a smoking, glowing shark’s head—not to mention a bird’s-eye view of Joe Thornton  & Co. on offense twice a game. Sure, the seat costs $83, but if the Sharks continue their ascension and win a Stanley Cup it will be priceless.

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