ESPN The Magazine Criteria
Strength of on-field leadership
Courtesy by players, coaches and front offices toward fans, and how well a team uses technology to reach them
Honesty; loyalty to core players and the community
Effort on the field, likability off it
Quality of venue; fan-friendliness of environment; frequency of game-day promotions
Bang for the buck
Wins in the past year, per fan dollars
Championships won or expected within the lifetime of current fans
The Ducks ranked second overall (#1 in the NHL) among all 122 major pro sports franchises (NHL/NFL/MLB/NBA) in ESPN the Magazine's Ultimate Team Rankings for 2014. From the magazine
Last year's ranking: 8
Title track: 12
Fan relations: 6
Stadium experience: 23
Bang for the buck: 2
While Boston and Minnesota have long laid claim to being hotbeds of hockey, Southern California has made a strong push the past few seasons, thanks to the Stanley Cup success of both the Ducks and their crosstown rivals, the reigning champion Kings. The Ducks, who won a Stanley Cup in 2007, finished with the best record in the Western Conference in 2013-14, as Ryan Getzlaf (87 points) and Corey Perry (43 goals) re-established themselves as one of the top one-two scoring punches in the NHL.
Despite all their on-ice success, the Ducks, as a franchise in a nontraditional hockey market, have to hustle more to attract fans than those tradition-rich teams up north and back east. So Anaheim has invested millions in initiatives like a 41-team high school league it started in 2008 and continues to fund. Top players like Getzlaf and Perry have led free learn-how-to-play clinics. And the Ducks remain affordable; their average ticket price ($42.24) and total cost per game ($63.24) are among the lowest in the league, which helps explain why they offer the second-best bang for the buck in the four sports. The team's "no surprise fees" policy -- which guarantees no unexpected add-ons when buying tickets directly from the team's site -- has been a hit with fans, who ranked the team first in the NHL in ease of ticket sales. The Ducks landed prized center Ryan Kesler
via trade during the offseason, ensuring they'll again be on any short list of Stanley Cup favorites in 2014-15. They've become a blueprint for building a model NHL franchise, on and off the ice. Not bad for a team originally named after a bunch of peewee players from Minnesota.
Here is ESPN the Magazine's method (taken from http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/teamrankings):
First: Consulting firm Maddock Douglas surveyed 1,002 North American fans to form 25 criteria for what you want most in return for the emotion, money and time you invest in the 122 MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL teams.
Second: Teaming with NetReflector, an opinion research firm, ESPN.com asked fans to rate their home teams in each area; more than 101,000 of you did! We grouped grades into the categories below. Royals fans, for example, ranked Kauffman Stadium much higher (29) than owner David Glass (112).
Third: Our final measure, bang for the buck, uses calculations developed with Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center to figure how well teams turn fans' money into wins. FINALLY, we combined each team's score across all categories into a weighted average. For example, since fans ranked players as more important than ownership, the former counted for 13.9 percent of a team's final score versus 11.3 percent for the latter. The result? Fan opinion combined with an objective gauge of the cost of winning. Ultimately, everything counts.
For the full rankings, click here