Spurs Named Top Franchise

he San Antonio Spurs are the best franchise in sports, according to ESPN The Magazine’s fourth annual Ultimate Standings fan poll, an online poll ranking all 92 MLB, NBA and NFL franchises. This marks the second time the Spurs have come away with the honor since the debut of the poll in 2000 – making them the first repeat winner. The top 10 consists of two NBA teams, the Spurs and the Detroit Pistons (last year’s winner), five NFL teams and three MLB teams. The NHL was not included in the poll this year due to the lockout.

In addition to being named the top franchise, the Spurs also took home the No. 1 spot in three other categories - Fan Relations, Ownership and Players. Fans love Coach Gregg Popovich, who has moved up from No. 72 in the Coaching category to No. 3 since the rankings began in 2000. The Spurs finished third in the Bang for the Buck category, which, rather than being voted on by fans, is determined by wins in the past three years per revenues received directly from the fans.

"Fans told us louder than ever this year that they care more about owners who show their appreciation and players who act professionally on and off the field than pretty stadiums or even winning championships,” said Peter Keating, senior writer, ESPN The Magazine. “Our top-ranked teams, including the Spurs, have made fans believe in their commitment and effort. The bottom-ranked teams fall short in that effort.”

More than 30,000 fans participated in the Ultimate Standings poll online through ESPN.com from October to November, 2005, giving grades to their favorite teams. Fans voted in seven categories – Fan Relations, Ownership, Affordability, Stadium Experience, Players, Coaching and Winning. The Bang for the Buck category is based on financial analysis for three years calculated by the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon and ESPN The Magazine.

Top 10 Franchises:

    San Antonio Spurs (last year’s rank: 2)
    Detroit Pistons (last year’s rank: 1)
    Pittsburgh Steelers (last year’s rank: 9
    Indianapolis Colts (last year’s rank: 3)
    Los Angeles Angels (last year’s rank: 5)
    Atlanta Falcons (last year’s rank 7)
    St. Louis Cardinals (last year’s rank 11)
    Carolina Panthers (last year’s rank 12)
    Atlanta Braves (last year’s rank: 16)
    New England Patriots (last year’s rank: 4)