Friday, June 17, 2011

Angels Top Franchise?

The Los Angeles Angels have been ranked the top baseball franchise and second in all of sports by ESPN The Magazine. My first was reaction was mild surprise. I don't think I would have thought as them as the best, but they have been a contender for years with little ownership drama and good attendance.

What shocked me is where the New York Yankees landed: 75th. Really? I despise the Evil Empire as much as the next non-Yanks' fan, but this doesn't seem possible.

The three most important things as owner needs to do are field a competitive team; give fans a positive experience at the game; and make money. It's hard to see where the Yankees fail at that.

For 90 years, or nearly the double the time the Angels have existed, the Bronx Bombers have won more World Series than any other team. And it's not close. They play in the most famous stadium; the newest version of Yankee Stadium has great sight lines, amenities, a Hall of Fame and, of course, the famous monuments (including the garish ode to George Steinbrenner).

Yes, the best seats require a mortgage for most fans. But there are plenty of tickets at more reasonable prices. And the team is second in the league at the gate (the Angels are 5th). So they must be doing something right, despite the sky-high prices.

It's hard to understand how you could design criteria that would place the Yankees so low on the list. I can see why the Green Bay Packers would top the rankings. (Full disclosure: I bleed green and gold.) But then, they are often called the New York Yankees of football.

I never thought I'd write about the Yankees being treated unfairly, but these rankings are silly. It makes me think the books were cooked just to draw attention to ESPN The Magazine.

I guess it worked.


  1. I've read quite a few of these Ultimate Standings editions, and I'm not really as surprised as you are. Sure, they win a lot and have great amenities at the stadium, but the owners spend a lot to get those wins and the fans have to pay a lot to get those. If you look at the specific criteria from the website, it makes sense.

    Bang for the Buck: Wins in the last three years divided by fan-based revenue. The Yankees were 110th out of 122. I could see how that would happen, given that they make a ton of money yet win maybe a little more than all the other top teams.

    Fan Relations: 42nd, it's above average so it's not a big deal in this discussion.

    Ownership: 39th, which is actually better than I would have expected with the Steinbrenners.

    Affordability: 119th. Not a surprise at all.

    Stadium experience: Quality of arena, promotions, and friendliness of environment. The Yankees got 54th, which may have something to do with belligerent fans.

    Players: 35th, but they do have A-Rod.

    Coaching: 52nd, I guess they aren't really known for good coaching.

    Title Track: 6th, which I honestly think should be higher, but it probably didn't affect that too much.

    I wouldn't argue with any of the first seven categories. And with Bang for the Buck and Affordability being in the top 4 most important categories, that #75 ranking sounds about right. Everything except BftB calculations was done through fan surveys, even the weight of each category.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I understand they used what I think are contrived criteria. That's the problem. It seems to me that they came up with irrelevant criteria. Who cares about "bang for your buck?" If a team wins fans will feel they got what they wanted. I suspect fans want titles most of all. If no one was paying the Yanks' prices it would be another story. But they stadium is 80 percent full every game.

    ReplyDelete - MLB