Denver rises up the rankings in ESPN’s Ultimate Standings

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Dec 13, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; General view of snow at Sports Authority Field at Mile High before an NFL football game between the Oakland Raiders and the Denver Broncos. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

For the last 14 years, ESPN has been releasing their Ultimate Standings, a power ranking of all 122 major american professional sports franchises (NBA, NHL, MLB, NFL). These rankings are not necessarily determined by success alone, but by a combination of factors that make for a great franchise: ownership, ticket prices, environment, coaching, etc.

On the whole, Colorado’s four major franchises didn’t perform all that well, with an average in-league ranking of 17, though there was improvement. Aside from the Avalanche, who dropped 26 spots from last year’s ranking, Colorado’s franchises all rose up the overall rankings, with the Rockies’ 36-place improvement the best of the bunch.

19. Denver Broncos (6th in the NFL)

74. Colorado Rockies (18th in the MLB)

77. Colorado Avalanche (21st in the NBA)

101. Denver Nuggets (24th in the NBA)

While they’re the most-highly ranked of the group, the Broncos 19th placement (6th in the NFL) may be the most surprising of them all. After all, they did just win the NFL championship.

ESPN’s Jeff Legwold, who was in charge of the Broncos’ writeup, agreed:

You’ll have to excuse the Denver Broncos and their crowd for a little bit of the “duh” face with all of this. The team has sold every ticket since 1970, it has had more Super Bowl trips than losing seasons since Pat Bowlen became an owner in 1984. Last season was the franchise’s eighth trip to the Super Bowl overall, seventh in Bowlen’s time with the franchise and the Broncos won their third championship.

(via ESPN.com)

A few more quick takeaways from ESPN’s category rankings:

  • The Nuggets ranked 116th out of 122 franchises for “title track,” which means that there are only six franchises in all of sports ESPN believes is further away from a championship than the Denver Nuggets.
  • While the Avalanche and Nuggets technically have the same ownership, the Avs (92nd) ranked three spots higher than the Nuggets (95th) in the “ownership” category; take that for what you may.
  • Unsurprisingly, the Colorado Rockies finished higher than the other three teams in terms of “stadium experience” (31st overall).
  • The highest ranking across all categories for all four teams was the Broncos for “bang for the buck” (7th).
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