SUNRISE, Fla. - ESPN the Magazine announced today that the Florida Panthers have been ranked seventh in the magazine's annual Ultimate Standings which measure how much NHL, NBA, NFL and MLB franchises give back to the fans in exchange for all the time, money and emotion the fans invest in them. The Panthers reached the list's top-10 for the first time, while also ranking third among all NHL teams and first among all South Florida sports franchises.
"We are honored that ESPN the Magazine has chosen the Panthers as the best sports franchise in South Florida and the seventh-best team among the four major sports," said Panthers Executive Chairman Peter Luukko. "Our organization has made great strides over the years both on and off the ice and we are committed to providing our fans with a winning product, great value and first class entertainment, while also giving back to our community."
The eight major categories which make up the Ultimate Standings include: Bang For The Buck - Wins during the past three years (regular season plus postseason) per revenues directly from fans, adjusted for league schedules; Fan Relations - Openness and consideration toward fans by players, coaches and management; Ownership - Honesty and loyalty to core players and local community; Affordability - Price of tickets, parking and concessions; Stadium Experience - Quality of arena and game-day promotions as well as friendliness of environment; Players - Effort on the field and likability off it; Coaching - Strength of leadership; and Title Track - Championships already won or expected in the lifetime of current fans. The rankings include a fan survey as well as examinations of ticket prices and other performance measures.
The Panthers climbed 41 spots from their 2015 ranking and this season finished third in Bang For The Buck, sixth in Affordability and ninth in fan relations.
The Panthers finished the 2015-16 season with a franchise record 47 wins and 103 points, while winning an Atlantic Division title and returning to the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since the 2011-12 season. The Panthers had four representatives at the 2016 NHL All-Star Game including: forward Jaromir Jagr, defenseman Aaron Ekblad, goaltender Roberto Luongo and head coach Gerard Gallant. Florida was well represented at the NHL Awards as well with Jagr winning the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey), Gallant being nominated for the Jack Adams Award (coach of the year) and center Aleksander Barkov's nomination for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct).
Across the four major sports in North America, the Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL) rank No. 1 as the best on the ESPN list followed by the San Antonio Spurs (NBA), Carolina Panthers (NFL), Green Bay Packers (NFL), Arizona Cardinals (NFL) and Nashville Predators (NHL).
To see the complete rankings, visit www.espn.com.