The World Champs Are Number One...Again

ESPN the Magazine Ranks Organization Highest in Annual Ultimate Standings Poll

The Pistons lead the NBA in attendance for the third consecutive season, averaging a capacity 22,076 fans per game.
Allen Einstein/NBAE/Getty Images
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - February 16 - The Detroit Pistons are Number One...again. This time, ESPN The Magazine has recognized the defending World Champs as the Number One major league (NBA, NFL and MLB) sports franchise in its annual Ultimate Standings Rankings for 2005.

The Rankings included 92 teams. Teams in the NHL were not included in the listing based upon the league's suspended 2004-05 season.

In 2005, the Pistons were cited for likeability of players, coaches and ownership. The team was also credited for "a brilliant marketing campaign called 'Goin' to Work. Every Night.'" Team promotions and contests were identified as the best in all of sports.

The Pistons moved into the top spot after being ranked Number Four in 2004. In 2003, the first year of the Ultimate Standings, the Pistons were ranked Number 13.

Fans from around the country ranked teams, via voting on ESPN.com, based upon seven specific criteria. In an eighth category, "Bang for the Buck" which examined wins in the past three years divided by revenues received directly from fans, ranking was calculated by Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon.

"It is a tremendous honor to be ranked number one," said Tom Wilson, CEO of the Pistons. "Winning the world championship last year was really about what happened on the court - our players and coaches deserve all the credit for that. This ranking from ESPN, because the categories reflect so many areas of our organization, from the experience at The Palace to the access to players and coaches to our ownership, is really something that the entire organization can take credit for. We have always said that what we do is based upon a partnership between our players, our coaches, our staff and our fans. The Ranking affirms the fact that the 'partners', through hard work, sacrifice and dedication, all contribute to the overall success."

The Annual Franchise Rankings were based on eight criteria: Bang for the Buck (wins in past three years divided by revenues directly from fans), Ownership (honesty and loyalty to players and city), Stadium Experience (friendliness of environment, quality of game day promotions), Coach/Manager (strong off-field leadership), Fan Relations (ease of access to players, coaches, management), Affordability (price of tickets, parking, concessions), Players (effort on the field, likeability off it) and Winning (championship or competitive teams and prospects for future).

Of the 92 major league teams in the Rankings, the Pistons were No. 1 in Bang for the Buck, No. 4 in Winning, No. 5 in Ownership, No. 6 in Coach/Manager and No. 9 in Players. The Pistons were also praised for "doing what it takes to build value over the long haul."

"The fans have spoken and what they have said is the Detroit Pistons work hard to affect our experience in a good way," said Wilson. "The people of Detroit appreciate that kind of effort. It's really what 'Goin' to Work' is all about."

For the third consecutive season the Pistons lead the NBA in attendance, averaging 22,076 (capacity) fans per game. They are currently riding a sell-out streak of 58 home games that includes 32 games last year (12 straight in the 2004 Playoffs) and all 26 of the regular season games this year.

For more information regarding The Ultimate Standings, visit the ESPN site at http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/sportsnation/franchiseRanks#nba8. To purchase tickets for any upcoming home game, please contact the Palace at (248) 377-0100 or log on to the Detroit Pistons Web site at www.pistons.com.