ESPN Magazine recently released their annual rankings of how much professional franchises "give back" to their fans and the Carolina Hurricanes dropped from being the number one rated team in the NHL last year to number seven in 2010. According to the same criteria in 2009, the Canes were also ranked as the second best franchise in all of major league sports, but they dropped to number 21 in the most recent ranking.
The exact methodology for the calculations is described here. Bottom line, some of the results are based upon responses from fans who are polled, some are based upon calculations. It appears that some Carolina fans are not as happy presently as they were in 2009.
Let's compare the results year by year.
1. The first category was "bang for the buck" which took into consideration total franchise wins over the last three years, including post season play, per revenues directly from fans. In other words, they calculated the efficiency of management and their ability to take fan generated revenue and turn it into wins. (This particular category was an actual calculation and had nothing to do with the fan poll).
- 2009 - 3
- 2010 - 27
The Canes dropped from third overall to 27th. Obviously, their losing record and failure to make the playoffs last season hurt this number, along with the fact that they spent close to the cap maximum.
2. The next category was "fan relations" which included openness and consideration toward fans by players, coaches, and management.
- 2009 - 6
- 2010 - 19
Not sure why this dropped unless the fans who were polled were less happy with openness of management than they were the previous season.
3. The "ownership" category was next. This category had three sub-categories, "honest ownership", "loyalty to core players", and "commitment to community".
- 2009 - 10
- 2010 - 46
This shows a fairly significant drop. I wonder if fans were polled before it was made public that Peter Karmanos intended to sell a portion of the franchise and that the budget for next season would be minimal? It might be interesting to see how the same fans would vote on this category right now at the present time.
4. "Affordability" was the next category and the Canes placed fifth in the NHL in this one. The consulting firm compared the pricing of tickets, parking, and concessions around the league. The best buy in the NHL for 2010 was Nashville followed by Phoenix, Buffalo, and then Anaheim.
- 2009 - 10
- 2010 - 26
According to the survey, watching the Canes is still a good deal.
5. Next up was "stadium experience" which included sub-topics "stadium quality", "promotions, contests, and giveaways," and "fan friendly environment." Last year, the Canes finished second in the NHL here, but fans rated their overall arena quality as 18th best, while "fan friendly environment" was number one in all of professional sports. (Tailgating). "Fan friendly environment" dropped to 19th overall for 2010 and the other sub-categories dropped further.
- 2009 - 4
- 2010 - 29
Again, not sure why this dropped unless fans took into consideration that the "experience" of losing was not as much fun as winning.
6. In 2009, Caniacs rated their "players" at fifth in the league and 15th overall in this category. The "likeableness" of players was rated seventh while fans lashed out with a 19th overall rating for "players always give their best effort". In 2010, "likeableness" dropped to 34 and "players always give their best effort" to 32.
- 2009 - 15
- 2010 - 30
Some fans turned on the players here with lower ratings than the previous year.
7. The next category, "coaching" was not the greatest in either year. Fans graded "strength of on field leadership" as ninth best in the league and 28th best overall in 2009. That dropped to 17th in the league and 69th overall for 2010.
- 2009 - 28
- 2010 - 69
8. Finally, the "title track" category was very highly rated by Carolina fans in 2009. The Canes finished second in the league behind only Detroit and ahead of third place Anaheim and fourth place New Jersey. Caniacs were very optimistic as this rating was based upon "championships already won or expected during the lifetime of current fans". Most fans apparently remain optimistic this season as they placed sixth in the NHL in this category for 2010 and 25th overall.
- 2009 - 4
- 2010 - 25
What does it all mean? First off, since the team was ranked number one in the league last season, there was only one place to go. But still, the franchise dropped fairly significantly in every category. Some of that can be attributed to the win-loss record, but perhaps some can also be attributed to the general attitude of fans out there.
Still, placing at #7 in the NHL is not a bad ranking at all and placing 21 out of all 122 franchises is excellent. Do you think the Canes will move up or down in the rankings in 2011?