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Title track: 97
Fan relations: 79
Stadium experience: 91
Bang for the buck: 27
Change from last year: +10
The Washington Wizards continue their rise in the rankings, moving up for the fourth consecutive year. This mirrors their rise in the Eastern Conference from perennial lottery team to conference semifinalists the past two seasons, making their 20-win season three years ago a distant memory.
Putting up W's in the standings has given the Wizards an excellent bang for the buck. The team increased ticket prices last season for the first time after a seven-year price freeze and will do so again this season. But the Wizards still offer their cheapest season ticket at $16 with no price increase, which was half of the cheapest season ticket available to new Washington Capitals customers last season, according to the Washington Post. The Wizards say more than 90 percent have renewed for this season, including over 10,000 full-season tickets -- light years from the 2,800 they had in 2010 when Ted Leonsis took over the franchise.
Washington rose in every category but one -- coaching. Randy Wittman has been a source of frustration for Wizards fans over the years, but his reputation might have started to take a turn for the better when he demonstrated his flexibility with some strategic moves in the postseason. Washington went to a smaller lineup featuring Paul Pierce at stretch 4 and swept Toronto before losing to Atlanta in a tight six-game series that was affected by John Wall fracturing his wrist and hand.
Washington's players jumped into the top half of the rankings, with Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter now in place as the foundation Wizards fans have been waiting for -- with hopes that their youthful talent can lure Kevin Durant back home next summer. "I have found that if you tell people we are going to be really bad until we are really good, this is our plan and we know it is going to be painful but we appreciate you supporting us, it is a lot of work to get people to buy in," said Leonsis, owner of the Wizards and Capitals. "But as they buy in and you execute, their passion is deep because they feel it is like they bought into a growth stock. And then you watch the young players grow up in front of you."