ESPN The Magazine has the Oklahoma City Thunder ranked No. 1 in its 2012 Ultimate Standings, which measures the relationship between NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL franchises and their fans.
The standings were posted only momentarily Thursday afternoon before being removed. The standings are back on-line again and can be viewed here.
The Thunder jumped from No. 6 last year to supplant the Green Bay Packers atop the rankings of 122 professional franchises.
NBA teams occupied four of the top five spots.
After OKC came the Packers (No. 2), San Antonio Spurs (No. 3), Indiana Pacers (No. 4), Memphis Grizzlies (No. 5), Phoenix Coyotes (No. 6), Tampa Bay Lightning (No. 7), New Orleans Saints (No. 8), Texas Rangers (No. 9) and Arizona Diamondbacks (No. 10).
This was the magazine’s 10th annual survey, and franchises are ranked in the following categories:
Bang for the buck (BNG): Wins during the past three years (regular season, plus postseason) per revenues directly from fans, adjusted for league schedules.
Fan relations (FRL): Openness and consideration toward fans by players, coaches and management.
Ownership (OWN): Honesty and loyalty to core players and local community.
Affordability (AFF): Prices of tickets, parking and concessions.
Stadium experience (STX): Quality of arena and game-day promotions as well as friendliness of environment.
Players (PLA): Effort on the field and likability off it.
Coaching (CCH): Strength of on-field leadership.
Title track (TTR): Championships already won or expected within the lifetime of current fans.
OKC ranked No. 2 in FRL and PLA, No. 5 in AFF, No. 7 in BNG, No. 8 in OWN, No. 16 in STX, No. 22 in CCH and No. 39 in TTR.
The Thunder improved in every category from last year except affordability, where it slipped from No. 3 overall.
In four years since relocating from Seattle to OKC, the Thunder has steadily climbed the Ultimate Standings — from No. 57 in 2009, to No. 25 in 2010, to No. 6 in 2011, to No. 1 in 2012.
In the final season as the Seattle SuperSonics four years ago, the franchise ranked No. 116 overall and No. 122 (last) in ownership.
Other franchises of note:
NBA: Boston Celtics (No. 20), Chicago Bulls (No. 24), Dallas Mavericks (No. 26), world champion Miami Heat (No. 31), Los Angeles Clippers (No. 53) and Los Angeles Lakers (No. 89).
NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 12), New England Patriots (No. 22), Denver Broncos (No. 38), world champion New York Giants (No. 48), Kansas City Chiefs (No. 62), Chicago Bears (No. 76), Dallas Cowboys (No. 86).
MLB: Los Angeles Angels (No. 15), Tampa Bay Rays (No. 16), Cincinnati Reds (No. 23), world champion St. Louis Cardinals (No. 25), Atlanta Braves (No. 27), Washington Nationals (No. 34), Los Angeles Dodgers (No. 61), Kansas City Royals (No. 75), New York Yankees (No. 82), Boston Red Sox (No. 117).
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. The rankings are determined by a multi-tiered analysis that examines a team’s efficiency in spending fan money as compared to its on-field performance. It also factors in feedback in 21 categories from more than 70,000 fans nationwide, both online at ESPN.com and in polling conducted by both independent third parties.
In all, 122 teams from the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB were ranked in order, based on a weighted average of scores in eight different categories ranging from the quantitative to the emotionally subjective: “bang for the buck” (21.6 percent), players (19.0 percent), fan relations (20.9 percent), affordability (16.7 percent), stadium experience (8.5 percent), ownership (8.1 percent), title track (3.2 percent), and coaching (2.0 percent).