San Antonio Spurs Named Third-Best Team Among Four Major Sports In ESPN The Magazine's 2012 Ultimate Standings List

San Antonio is the only franchise to rank in the Top 10 every year since ESPN introduced its annual survey in 2003.

SAN ANTONIO, TX (September 7, 2012) – ESPN The Magazine released “The Ultimate Standings” rankings for 2012 and the San Antonio Spurs were named the third-best professional team out of 122 total teams from the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB. The Oklahoma City Thunder took top honors among all franchises, while the Green Bay Packers finished second overall.

San Antonio is the only franchise to rank in the Top 10 every year since ESPN introduced its annual survey in 2003.

“We are once again honored to receive a top ranking in ESPN’s Ultimate Standings,” said Rick Pych, president of business operations for Spurs Sports & Entertainment. “The reason this survey means so much to us is very simple, it’s a direct indication of how our fans feel about us. The number one priority of our organization is to provide the best possible fan experience each and every day and treat everyone we touch as family. The relationship between the Spurs organization, our fans and the San Antonio community is truly extraordinary.”

ESPN The Magazine has compiled ‘The Ultimate Standings’ each of the past 10 years, rating professional sports teams by a formula which combines Bang for the Buck, Fan Relations, Ownership, Affordability, Stadium Experience, Players, Coaches and Championship Title track.

The Spurs ranked first overall in four categories that were part of the judging process to determine the best overall sports franchise: ownership, coaching, fan relations and players.

Spurs Chairman and CEO Peter Holt was ranked as the “Ultimate Boss,” among all sports franchise owners, based on the criteria of “honesty, commitment to their communities and loyalty to core players.“

Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich was ranked as the top coach among the four major sports. The longest tenured coach with the same team in all four major professional sports, Popovich holds the third-best winning percentage in NBA history (.679, 847-399). His 847 victories with the Spurs ranks second all-time in NBA history for most wins with one team (Jerry Sloan, Utah Jazz, 1,127).

‘Fan relations’ is described as the “openness and consideration of players, coaches and management toward fans” and the ‘players’ category is described as the “effort on the court and the likeability off the court of franchise players.”

The Spurs are led by the trio of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili who have won three NBA titles together and have a combined 19 All-Star appearances between them. The additions of Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green helped the Silver and Black post a league-tying-best 50-16 record and advance to the 2012 Western Conference Finals. Parker was selected to the All-NBA Second Team for the first time in his career and Leonard was named to the NBA’s All-Rookie First Team. In addition to their efforts on the court, Spurs players made over 175 community appearances this past season.

Since Duncan joined the Spurs in 1997, San Antonio has compiled the best record in the NBA with a 830-352 record giving them a winning percentage of .702, the best mark of any team in the four major professional sports over the last 15 years. The Spurs record during that span ranks as the best 15-year run of any team in NBA history.

The Ultimate Standings debuted in 2003 with the Spurs ranked third overall with the Green Bay Packers at first and the Arizona Diamondbacks second. In 2004, the Spurs garnered their first title ranking from ESPN, followed by the Dallas Mavericks in second place and the Green Bay Packers third. In 2005, the Spurs ranked second overall behind the Detroit Pistons, and ahead of the third ranked Indianapolis Colts. In 2006, a year after their third NBA Title, the Spurs were voted to the top of the list again with the Detroit Pistons second and Pittsburgh Steelers third. The Spurs finished second behind the Buffalo Sabers and above the Dallas Mavericks in 2007. The following year, the Spurs were ranked second overall behind the Indianapolis Colts. In 2009, San Antonio ranked ninth overall and seventh overall in 2010. Last season the Silver and Black were voted fifth overall, taking home top honors among NBA teams.

ESPN The Magazine’s “The Ultimate Standings” reveals the best and the worst franchises in its 10th annual franchise rankings. It is the only comprehensive ranking of all 122 major North American professional sports franchises. It aims to quantify the unique relationship between fans and their favorite teams by determining which MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL franchises establish and maintain the most overall reward for their fans. Results are determined using analysis of team financial data by The Magazine and the WSMC, combined with fan feedback data gathered by Maddock Douglas, a Chicago-based consulting firm, Netflector, a Seattle-based opinion company and ESPN.com.