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Kings offer challenge after ESPN ranks the franchise worst in major sports

Sep 22, 2013, 6:30 PM EDT

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ESPN caused a stink in Sacramento recently when ESPN the Magazine released its franchise rankings across the four major sports.

The cover contains the headline, “#1: The Memphis Grizzlies are the best franchise in sports” followed by “No. 122: The Sacramento Kings are not.”

While this rating could have been somewhat explainable if the hapless Maloof family still owned the team, the firepower and momentum behind new ownership led by Vivek Ranadive — the group that successfully fought to keep the Kings in Sacramento and get a new stadium built — should have moved the franchise many, many spots up that list.

ESPN released a press release explaining their rationale:

“Every year, ESPN The Magazine compiles the results of fan surveys and financial analysis to determine which teams in the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL offer the greatest rewards for all the emotion, money and time that fans invest in them. … In all, 122 teams from the NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball were ranked in order, based on a weighted average of scores in eight areas ranging from the quantitative to the emotionally subjective:

• Fan relations (25.2%)
• Affordability (17.4%)
• “Bang for the buck” (16.8%)
• Stadium experience (12.4%)
• Players (11.30%)
• Ownership (10.2%)
• Title track (3.6%)
• Coaching (3.1%)”

The Sac Bee’s Jason Jones reported that the rankings were “based off last season’s ownership, coaching, etc.”

That makes ESPN’s decision not to adjust those rankings for easily predictable improvements a curious one.

Fast forward to Saturday night, the Kings issued their own press release challenging ESPN.  The team released advertisements saying, “Hey ESPN. Nice Airball. New Era. New Swagger. The Best Fans Await You. 11.15.13.”

The messaging references the Nov. 15 nationally televised home game between the Kings and the Detroit Pistons on ESPN.

“Under Vivek’s leadership, there is a lot happening in Sacramento: a new ambition, new investments in talent and arena infrastructure, and a new commitment to our wonderful community,” said Kings President and Chief Operating Officer Chris Granger. “We have the best fans in sports and we will work tirelessly until we give them the best franchise in the world.”

“We love ESPN, but think they could have given us the benefit of foresight in their rankings,” continued Granger. “They know what we have going here. And, if they don’t, we’re going to show them when they visit us on November 15.”

As we’ve seen when Kings fans rallied in unprecedented ways to save their team, ESPN may have a hard time finding a crowd shot representative of the worst franchise in sports.

  1. herkulease - Sep 22, 2013 at 8:10 PM

    What makes it curious?

    Reality is to make things “fair” you have to set and date and rate every sports franchise at a specific date. Some franchises will benefit, some will suffer.

    Anyways it sounds more like the Kings are unhappy with ownership ranking and coaching.

    Even if they were to make adjustments, they have nothing to go with. Mike Malone has never coached in his career. NBA or NCAA level.

    While they can probably rate Vivek somewhat via his Silicon Valley stuff that doesn’t mean he’ll be a great owner. Donald Sterling is a billionaire, he must’ve done something right in real estate, but I nor anyone else would hardly consider him a great owner given the Clippers poor history.

  2. fearthehoody - Sep 22, 2013 at 10:02 PM

    Not a Sac Kings fan but I have a rating system for ESPN studies/brocading. It is Interest = 0%

  3. savvybynature - Sep 22, 2013 at 10:35 PM

    “That makes ESPN’s decision not to adjust those rankings for easily predictable improvements a curious one.”

    Which improvements are easily predictable? Who decides? What kind of unbiased system could be created to factor those improvements in?

    Seems like it would only make the entire ranking more speculative and less rigorous. Predicting the long-term future isn’t easy. After all, your colleague Kurt predicted that the Spurs’ title window was completely closed years ago, and yet last season they were seconds away from another title. The new owner seems like he is well intentioned, at least more so than the Maloofs, but that is hardly a guarantee of success.

  4. jonirocit - Sep 22, 2013 at 11:25 PM

    Yeah ok bro

  5. norcalkingsfan - Sep 23, 2013 at 12:11 AM

    Who, with a sound sports mind, looks to ESPN for anything? Who cares? F*** the haters, especially the ignorant ones. Can’t wait to see where this front office takes this franchise.

    In the words of a not so wise man, “That’s all I have to say about that.”

    • freddysanford - Sep 23, 2013 at 12:28 AM

      Nice kool aid drinking

  6. freddysanford - Sep 23, 2013 at 12:27 AM

    Kings are pathetic. New owner and front office a joke. They will be lucky to win 25 games this year. Espn is spot on

    • norcalkingsfan - Sep 23, 2013 at 1:48 AM

      How to sound like an idiot on this message board….

      “New owner and front office a joke.” and “ESPN is spot on.”

  7. 00maltliquor - Sep 23, 2013 at 1:07 AM

    The real question is why are the Memphis Grizzlies #1 in ALL of sports?? Just curious.

    • domblaze - Sep 24, 2013 at 11:42 AM

      To me, that was the much more obscene thing to say. I mean it’s reasonable to say that a team that hasn’t been to the playoffs or had a winning record in about 7 or 8 years, was about to be moved to a different state and is under new ownership plus a brand new coach is the worst franchise in American sports currently. The Grizzlies outranking every NFL team, NBA team, and MLB team as the best though? They have been to the Western Conference finals once, fairly new to Memphis still, and who honestly hears anything about how hard it is to play in Memphis cause of their stadium? I bet they ranked OKC as number 2 based on how they ranked the Grizz.

  8. savvybynature - Sep 23, 2013 at 2:11 AM

    I think people, even the author of the blog post perhaps, are confusing this ranking with a ranking of most successful sports franchises or as a prediction of success to come.
    That’s not what it is.

  9. thetooloftools - Sep 23, 2013 at 2:31 AM

    ESPN is going to have it’s own problems when FOXSPORTS1 blows right by it as the sports leader.

  10. westpalmlion - Sep 23, 2013 at 8:17 AM

    In other news, I rank espn as the worst sports network on television.

  11. sportsnut101 - Sep 23, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    Really they worse then the bobcats. I don’t think so espn is rated 1 in crap stories. And diva attention.

    Brett farvaa news of no1 cares
    Rg3 news of him holding press conferences
    Tiger woods news of him not winning. Overshadowing the winner
    Dwight saga. Enough said
    Lebron ride my coattails espn coverage

    Put these guys on espn2,3,4,5,6. Not main espn

    Joke of a network it has become and then tonight it will peyton I love u manning coverage. God enough

  12. eajinabi - Sep 23, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    The main reason is that you have 2 NBA teams within 80 miles from each other. You are dividing fans between two teams. Move them to Seattle and you will notice a difference in thier rankings.

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