One rallies behind a dancing monkey. The other rallies behind what could be the most delicious cheerleading squad in all of pro sports.
We take seriously this annual “Ultimate Standings” that ESPN The Magazine publishes, now for the seventh time, in trying to determine which team in the four major pro sports — baseball, basketball, football and hockey — rank as far as fan experience and producing a return on an investment in tickets and support.
In other words, which teams connect best to their fans.
The Angels rank No. 1 of all the 122 teams. The Clippers rank last.
Couldn’t see that one coming. Unless you were a fan of the Angels and/or Clippers.
As this July 13 issue of ESPN’s oversized publication points out, “this year, the rankings are more important than ever,” since fans have less money to spend. So, there is a method to figuring this out.
Using a Chicago consulting firm and research by the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon, the magazine surveyed 21 topics related to each team — stadium experience, fan relations, affordability, players, coaching, ownership, titles won and, the best, bang for the buck — and weighed each one to their importance. Do teams effeciently convert dollars from fans into on-field wins (regular and post season)? That’s a big deal, but not as big as say, fan relations or desire to obtain quality players.
The Angels ranked no less than No. 16 in any of those categories, and did very well (top 5) in affordability, coaching and title track (a three-way tie with the Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Cardinals). In the “Bang for the Buck” category, they were No. 6
The Clippers, meanwhile, ranked highest only in how they were ranked a year ago — No. 82. Now, at No. 122, they’re dead last also in coaching and players, and almost last in fan relations (121), title track (119) and “Bang for the Buck” (116). Only the stadium experience and ticket affordability make them less embarassing than the really should be.
In between, the rankings for the other L.A./O.C. pro teams:
No. 11: Ducks
No. 50: Dodgers
No. 51: Lakers
No. 95: Kings
No. 104: San Diego Padres (just for context)
No. 116: Oakland Raiders (again, for giggles)
You think living in New York helps a team relate to its fans? Not in this poll. Consider these N.Y./N.J. team rankings:
No. 45: Giants
No. 82: Mets
No. 93: Rangers
No. 103: Jets
No. 107: Yankees
No. 111: Nets
No. 115: Islanders
No. 121: Knicks
Yes, if it wasn’t for the Clippers, the Knicks would be worse. You OK with that, Spike Lee?
So what do we take away from all this? In L.A., it’s a big skewed up.
If you’re enjoying yourself at a Clipper game, that’s your fault.
If you’re dissatisfied at an Angels game, you’re doing something wrong. (Like, don’t be in the parking lot when bullets are flying … they’ve already cleaned up the rat problem).
If you’re not quite sure how satisfied you are at a Dodgers or Lakers game, you’re right about in the middle. You should be happier. It could be worse. This, again, was done before the Lakers’ recent title, and the Dodgers’ run to the best record in baseball. And in L.A., running in front matters most.
And, which team has Manny Ramirez on their roster.