Count the executives with the Toronto Maple Leafs as unimpressed with ESPN.
Last week, ESPN The Magazine published its yearly installment of their “Ultimate Rankings,” a list of all the professional teams from the NBA, NHL, MLB and NFL based upon eight different categories.
Toronto’s NHL club finished last.
The results allow for an interesting mix of fan input and statistical research based upon different aspects of the in-game experience such as parking at the venue, affordability, access to tickets, stadium experience and on-field performance.
Oklahoma City’s Thunder finished first overall. The Maple Leafs’ bitter cross-town rivals Ottawa Senators were the highest-ranking Canadian team, coming in at 42.
Despite their ongoing financial crisis, the Phoenix Coyotes came in at No. 5.
A rude welcome for Tom Anselmi, who was announced as the new president of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) last week.
Anselmi brushed off the study’s accuracy and legitimacy,
“I was confused by the ranking,” he said. “They ranked the owners of the Leafs one place (112th) and the owners of the Raptors (93rd). The last time I checked, they’re the same.”
Brian Burke, the President and General Manager of the Maple Leafs wasn’t as kind as his boss. Asked to comment on the results at the team’s annual charity golf tournament at Glen Abbey, the outspoken Burke didn’t hold back.
“ I don’t think ESPN knows a single thing about hockey,” he said. “I think their hockey coverage stinks and I don’t think they know anything about Canada.”
Not surprising that Burke had harsh words for ESPN, who also rated Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf as the league’s most overrated player back in January.
Anselmi and Burke both tried to discredit the findings of the study, one completed by the Chicago-based consulting firm Maddock Douglas and later revised by NerReflector, an opinion research company from Seattle.
The Maple Leafs finished last in Affordability and Bang for Buck, two of the fan-related categories conducted during the study.
Not surprisingly, in the on-field categories, Toronto finished second last in Title Track and Players, ahead of only the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Leafs highest ranking category was Stadium Experience, coming in at No. 104.
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