ESPN's latest rankings regarding professional franchises in the four major sports of North America (basketball, baseball, football and hockey) was recently released and the New Orleans Pelicans have climbed 41 spots, from 77th to 36th.
There are a number of facets that comprise the overall grade including but not limited to title track, ownership, coaching, players and affordability. The Pelicans scored best in affordability and bang for the buck. An average ticket price of just over thirty dollars ($30.20) represents fantastic value in today's landscape. Fifteen teams have average prices of $50.00 or higher with the Knicks topping the list at over $123.00. Considering New York won just seventeen times last season, it was a rare occurrence to pay big bucks for a win.
On the flip side, the Pelicans graded poorly in several areas: title track, coaching and stadium experience. While we've learned over the years to accept many are not a fan of the Dell Demps build around Anthony Davis, it's a bit surprisingly to see the coaching tandem of Alvin Gentry and Darren Erman at number 68. The same thing can be said for stadium experience considering the Smoothie King Center has had a new video board installed which is supposed to rival any and all other arenas. Don't be surprised, though, to see these grades make a sizable jump in next year's rankings if both of these areas prove their expected worth over the course of the 2016 season.
Some might be inclined to think New Orleans jump up the franchise ranking list is also synonymous with the sudden value increase of the team the last several years.
For a period of time, the value of the Pelicans franchise stagnated as evidenced by a profit of just 69 million dollars in 9 years. Conversely, in just the last two years, the value has nearly doubled, going from $340 million to $650 million.
There is no doubt Anthony Davis, a humble superstar, has had a profound effect, but in reality, Benson bought into the NBA at the perfect moment. The average value of NBA franchises over the last several years has more than doubled! Yep, the rest of the NBA is faring even better than New Orleans.
Well, it's a start Pelicans fans. ESPN has New Orleans as the 11th highest ranked NBA team, ahead of such notables as the Los Angeles Clippers and Chicago Bulls. Any good press, even if it still politely dismisses championship aspirations, should count as a win.