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ESPN The Magazine Ranks the Raptors as 74th Best Franchise

With its annual assessment of every franchise in pro sports, ESPN The Magazine ranked the Toronto Raptors as the 74th best organization overall. Is that rating fair?

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The geniuses over at ESPN The Magazine have published their rankings for the best franchises in all of sports. Yep, all 122 teams in football, basketball, baseball and hockey are in there (sorry soccer, fans; maybe next year). The rating metric includes judging each team by some basic criteria:

Affordability - Price of tickets, parking and concessions;

Coaching - Strength of on-field leadership;

Fan Relations - Courtesy by players, coaches and front offices toward fans, and how well a team uses technology to reach them;

Ownership - Honesty; loyalty to core players and the community;

Players - Effort on the field, likability off it;

Stadium Experience - Quality of venue; fan-friendliness of environment; frequency of game-day promotions;

Bang for the Buck - Wins in the past year, per fan dollars; and

Title Track - Championships won or expected within the lifetime of current fans.

On the Raptors front, it is good news. The team moved up from its overall ranking of 108 last year, all the way to... 74!

(Let's take a moment here to try and understand why Sebastian Telfair is the featured Raptor in the above link.)

ESPN's Eddie Katz notes that the Raptors have seen a large uptick in the Players and Coaching standings (46 and 58, respectively). But the team is still middling in the Ownership, Fan Relations and Stadium Experience categories (74, 71 and 76, respectively).

And, well, this last item is a bummer: the Raptors are still a low ranked team (101) in the Title Track category, meaning we still shouldn't expect a championship any time soon. And, the franchise sits near the bottom in Affordability (107). So we're paying bigger bucks, with apparently no hope in sight for a title.

Still, that's better than the Toronto Maple Leafs. They came dead last overall out of all 122 teams. The Raptors can at least now, numerically speaking, claim to be the best Toronto-based sports franchise. Huzzah!

What do you guys think about the ranking? Fair? Unfair?