Rand: At least we're not the worst sports town

  • Updated: September 24, 2013 - 6:55 AM
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The Timberwolves, featuring Kevin Love, are the 83rd-best franchise out of 122, according to ESPN’s rankings.

Photo: File photo by Kyndell Harkness • kyndell.harkness@startribune.com,

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The success of a pro sports franchise can be measured in countless ways. ESPN has chosen to do so with a variety of metrics and surveys that attempt to gauge fan experience and team success, among other things.

As it has done yearly for the past decade, ESPN recently released its “Ultimate Team Standings” for 2013. Using those measurements, all the teams in the NHL, NBA, NFL and MLB are ranked 1-122.

Here are a few items we found interesting:

• The top five overall are: 1) Memphis Grizzlies; 2) San Antonio Spurs; 3) Indiana Pacers; 4) Oklahoma City Thunder and 5) Green Bay Packers. The top four are, interestingly, NBA teams.

Also: Four of the five are franchises in markets that only have one of the “major” four pro sports, at least as defined by ESPN. The other, the Pacers, is in a two-sport market (Indianapolis also has the Colts).

• On the other hand, there are 12 markets that have MLB, NHL, NBA and NFL franchises. Nine of them, including Minneapolis-St. Paul, have just one team in each category. Here are how each of those nine fared in ESPN’s rankings.

Minneapolis-St. Paul: Wild, No. 50; Twins, No. 58; Vikings, No. 69; Wolves, No. 83. Average: 65.

Boston: Best: Patriots (39); Worst: Red Sox (93). Average of four teams: 56. Dallas-Fort Worth: Best: Rangers (19); Worst: Cowboys (107). Average: 56. Detroit: Best: Red Wings (13); Worst: Lions (111). Average: 58. Denver: Best: Broncos (15); Worst: Avalanche (101). Average: 58.

Phoenix: Best: Diamondbacks (6); Worst: Suns (118). Average: 63. Philadelphia: Best: Phillies (59); Worst: Eagles (95). Average: 79. Washington D.C.: Best: Nationals (49); Worst: Wizards (113). Average: 79. Miami: Best: Heat (25); Worst: Marlins (120). Average: 81.

So that tells us, at least according to ESPN, that in like-minded markets the Twin Cities have the second-worst “best” franchise (Wild at No. 50 is only better than Philadelphia’s top team, the Phillies) ... and the best “worst” franchise (the Wolves at No. 83 fare better than any of the other eight markets’ worst teams).

This all seems so fitting.

MICHAEL RAND

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