To determine which sports teams produce the most bang for the buck, University of Oregon M.B.A. students from the Lundquist College of Business's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center provided a detailed slam-dunk analysis to ESPN: The Magazine for the fourth consecutive year. The magazine uses the data as part of its "Ultimate Standings," which ranks all NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB sports franchises based on fan relationships.
ESPN published the 2006 "Ultimate Standings" on its website on December 8, 2005, and in the December 19 issue of ESPN: The Magazine. The final rankings named the San Antonio Spurs as the best franchise for the second year in a row. The New Orleans Saints were the worst overall.
As in previous years, Philip H. Knight Professor of Business Dennis Howard led a team of seven M.B.A. students in an analysis of how efficiently teams convert dollars received from fans into on-field wins. For each franchise, students averaged the cost of a season ticket (excluding luxury boxes) and then added prices for parking, food, beverages, programs, and caps (marketing surveys show that, on average, each fan buys the equivalent of one hot dog, one beer, one soda, and one program per game and one cap per season.) Teams' scores were then adjusted to reflect differences in schedule length and spread in winning percentages among leagues.
ESPN combined the findings from the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center with the opinions of 30,000 fans collected through ESPN's SportsNation surveys and from a national poll conducted by marketing firm Markitecture. The final rankings balanced the objective data compiled by M.B.A. students with the subjective evaluations of fans.
"ESPN and the Warsaw center have a long-standing partnership. The 'Ultimate Standings' is a perfect example of the great experiential learning opportunities our industry relationships provide students," said the center's Managing Director Paul Swangard.
Swangard noted that ESPN also hosts students and faculty during the center's annual field trip to New York and participates in many of the center's events, including this spring's tenth annual Women in Sports Business Symposium. The event will honor outgoing ESPN Marketing Executive Lee Ann Daly with its Woman of the Year Award.