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Blue Jackets are No. 21 among North American pro sports teams in ESPN Ultimate Rankings

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

Checking at No. 21 overall, the Blue Jackets hit their highest all-time ranking in the ESPN Ultimate Team Rankings – and 25 spots higher than their previous best.

It has been another summer of positive momentum for the organization, coming off the team’s first Stanley Cup playoff appearance in five years and in turn, heightened expectations for a young and emerging club that has eyes on challenging for the Metropolitan Division.

Off the ice, the success has been equally exciting. The Blue Jackets recently surpassed the 10,000 season ticket mark and have secured new corporate partnership deals with several local businesses in advance of a highly-anticipated season.

A year ago, the Blue Jackets were ranked No. 46 overall in the ESPN rankings but at No. 21, it’s a sign of good things happening in the present and more to come in the future.

“It gives us a great sense of pride for everyone here in the organization,” said John Browne, Blue Jackets Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “We have a lot of wonderful people here who work hard every day and who are committed to excellence both on and off the ice. We’ve made great strides over the last few years, and it would appear from the ESPN rankings that more and more people are noticing that.

“It’s great and it’s gratifying but we’ve got more work ahead. We’re not done yet.”

The Blue Jackets’ ranking was the highest among all Ohio-based professional sports teams. The team’s jump in the fan relations/technology category was marked, going from No. 46 in 2013 to No. 23 in 2014, which Browne said is a reflection of the investment in the digital space and the fans’ enthusiastic engagement with the content.

Columbus also jumped from No. 44 to No. 17 in affordability, from No. 30 to No. 14 in stadium experience and from No. 55 to No. 32 in ranking of players, their effort level and likeability.

“There’s definitely more to achieve and we recognize that,” Browne said. “We’re committed to continuous improvement. To see the significant jump in the rankings year over year, it speaks to what we’ve accomplished but it gives us even more motivation to keep pushing forward.

“Our season ticket base is at a five-year high and we continue to feel the great energy and momentum in the community. These are all great indicators that people are very excited about our team and our organization, and we appreciate their support.”

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