A year ago, the Blue Jackets made a significant jump in the "Ultimate Standings" rankings produced annually by ESPN The Magazine, climbing all the way up to No. 21 overall out of 122 professional teams.
The rankings, which are generated based on four primary categories, reflect a franchise's relationship with its fans and, in turn, their satisfaction with the team across multiple points of interest.
This year, the Blue Jackets barged into the top 20 franchises in all of professional sports, checking in at No. 19 overall and No. 6 in the NHL. Just ahead of Columbus in the overall rankings are the Chicago Blackhawks (No. 17) and Baltimore Ravens (No. 18), and behind them are the Denver Broncos (No. 20) and Miami Heat (No. 21).
Here's a rundown of the four main points:
1) In conjunction with Chicago's Maddock Douglas consulting firm, over 1,000 sports are surveyed fans to find out what they look for "in return for the emotion, money and time you invest in MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL clubs." The poll included 25 topics, which lead into the second item.
2) Over 100,000 fans responded to a poll from ESPN.com and NetReflector geared toward rating franchises in each of the 25 aforementioned categories.
3) Then, it comes to what value fans feel they're getting from teams. From ESPN: "We relied on calculations we have developed with researchers at the University of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center, where we figure out how efficiently teams convert the money fans spend into on-field wins (including the postseason)."
4) Using a weighted formula, each team's score is combined into an average. The top two weighted categories are fan relations (25 percent) and bang for the buck (18.3 percent).
The Ultimate Standings formula determined that Blue Jackets fans have a great relationship with the team, and vice versa. "Only eight teams in the fan-friendly league have better relations with their supporters," according the story posted on ESPN.com.
Also, value is a big item for Jackets fans, as they rank 20th among all pro sports teams in the "bang for the buck" category.
Read the complete breakdown of the Blue Jackets' 2015 Ultimate Standings ranking by clicking HERE.