ESPN the Magazine has been ranking all NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL franchises — there are now 122 of those — each of the past 10 years using a complicated formula that ranks such categories as ownership, coaching, bang for the buck, fan experience and affordability. The magazine judges 25 areas to compile the rankings.
Ranked No 1 in both 2004 and 2006, the Spurs have appeared in the Top 10 each of the 10 years, the only franchise in the Top 10 each year. So it came as no surprise that the magazine celebrated a decade of its rankings by naming the Spurs its “Team of the Decade.”
The Spurs ranked third in this year’s rankings, behind No. 1 Oklahoma City Thunder and No. 2 Green Bay Packers.
The magazine refers to the Spurs as “an old friend” of the franchise rankings, noting that “it excels in just about every category we’ve ever measured.”
The magazine also names Spurs coach Gregg Popovich as its “ultimate coach,” ranking ahead of Ne Englad Patriots coach Bill Belichick, Celtics coach Doc Rivers, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and Tampa Bay Devil Rays manager Joe Madden. It also cites what it refers to as the franchises “anonymous architects” of success: Owner Peter Holt, superstar forward Tim Duncan and general manager R.C. Buford.
The Spurs, the magazine concludes, deserve recognition for “elevating small-market success to an art form.”
“We are once again honored to receive a top ranking in ESPN’s Ultimate Standings,” Rick Pych, president of business operations for Spurs Sports Entertainment, said in a statement released by the club. “The reason this survey means so much to us is very simple: it’s a direct indication of how our fans feel about us. The number one priority of our organization is to provide the best possible fan experience each and every day and treat everyone we touch as family. The relationship between the Spurs organization, our fans and the San Antonio community is truly extraordinary.”