This week's issue of ESPN The Magazine includes the annual Ultimate Team Rankings. Each year ESPN ranks all of the franchises from the four major professional sports leagues based on the following criteria: bang for the buck, fan relations, ownership, affordability, stadium experience, players, coaching and title track.â†µ
Unsurprisingly, the Red Wings are Detroit's highest ranked franchise, coming in at No. 17 overall. The Red Wings actually are ranked first in the ownership and title track categories, and they are second in fan relations, sixth in players and eighth in coaching. The reason they are only 17th is because stadium experience is ranked 84th. If not for Joe Louis Arena, the Red Wings would be one of the top franchises in the rankings.â†µ
The Tigers are the next highest ranked Detroit franchise. They are 52nd overall thanks to placing well in ownership (16th), affordability (22nd) and stadium experience (25). They don't rank so highly in bang for the buck (83rd), which contributed to them not placing in the top 50.â†µ
As for the Lions and Pistons, they are moving in different directions. For the first time ever in these rankings when teams from all four leagues are considered, the Lions are in the top 100. In fact, they are 94th and are moving in the right direction. The Pistons, on the other hand, are 113th after yet another rough season. Just five years ago the Pistons were second overall, and over the last decade they were consistently near the top of the rankings. Now the Pistons are almost at the bottom of the list, which sums up how bad the last few years have been for them.