ST. PETERSBURG, FL--- The Tampa Bay Rays ranked sixth overall (second amongst MLB teams) in this year's ESPN Ultimate Standings, a study that ranks all MLB, NFL, NHL and NBA teams across eight fan-relevant categories. It is the highest ranking the Rays have received, up 10 spots from last year's ranking of 16.
Said principal owner Stuart Sternberg: "I am particularly pleased by our #2 ranking in "bang for the buck" and #3 ranking in affordability. Our organization focuses intensely on those two areas; to beat the top of the 122 professional sports franchises in North America is something of which we are all very proud."
According to ESPN, these rankings are meant to measure, "...how much MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL franchises give back to the fans in exchange for all the time, money and emotion the fans invest in them." We've always known the current Rays' organization to be a very generous one - fixing up the stadium experience, giving out free parking, keeping ticket prices low, etc. - and this only confirms it. We have a darn good organization to root for.
This ranking is even more impressive considering how much the Rays' organization has improved in just four years. In 2007, the Devil Rays were ranked 86th out of 122 teams, but they've improved that mark every year since then (75th in 2008, 16th in 2009, and now this). This organization has made it a real priority to be affordable and fan-friendly, and it's nice to see those efforts being acknowledged.