Every year ESPN magazine offers up their "Ultimate Standings" of all 122 teams in the four major sporting leagues. Unlike most standings you'd find coming out of ESPN though, this doesn't deal strictly with on-the-field success. Instead is focuses on "how much MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL franchises give back to the fans in exchange for all the time, money and emotion the fans invest in them." It shouldn't come much as a surprise then that the Miami Heat far outranked every other South Florida team.
The rankings are based on the following criteria:
Bang For The Buck (BNG): Wins during the past three years (regular season plus postseason) per revenues directly from fans, adjusted for league schedules.
Fan Relations (FRL): Openness and consideration toward fans by players, coaches and management.
Ownership (OWN): Honesty and loyalty to core players and local community.
Affordability (AFF): Price of tickets, parking and concessions.
Stadium Experience (STX): Quality of arena and game-day promotions as well as friendliness of environment.
Players (PLA): Effort on the field and likability off it.
Coaching (CCH): Strength of on-field leadership.
Title Track (TTR): Championships already won or expected in the lifetime of current fans.
This year the Heat came in at number 44 overall. Yeah, in comparison that doesn't sound great, but it's better than all the other team in South Florida. It's also significantly up from their ranking of 63 last year.
The team does especially well in Fan Relations (29th overall), Ownership (24, maybe Micky Arison really isn't such a fat greedy pig after all), Players (29th) and Title Track (31st). We have to wonder that Title Track ranking though. Last year the Heat were 14th overall. If anything it should have gotten better.
The Heat could do better in affordability though. They're ranked 80th overall for that.
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Surprisingly, it's actually the Marlins who come in second in South Florida, with a 69th ranking overall. Though, that's down from 65 last year. They come in 13th for Title Track. Their lowest rating comes for Stadium Experience, but that should rise next year.
The Miami Dolphins took the biggest tumble. They were 58th last year, but fell to 101st this year.
The Florida Panthers meanwhile came in at 111th (down from 106th last year). The team came in 120th out of 122th for Coaching, and 117th for Title Track.