This story is part of ESPN The Magazine's Oct. 12 Owners Issue. Subscribe today!
Title track: T-18
Fan relations: 4
Stadium experience: 26
Bang for the buck: 1
Change from last year: -2
The Ducks may have had to watch the hometown rival Kings host Stanley Cup parades in 2012 and 2014, but they continue to earn high marks from our voters. Even with a slight dip from last year's No. 2 ranking, Anaheim is fourth overall and second in hockey behind only Tampa Bay. "It's terrific to be considered that way," Aaron Teats, the team's chief marketing officer, told ESPN. "It's humbling."
The Ducks ranked No. 1 overall in bang for the buck, which measures how directly fans' dollars lead to wins (the Ducks have 50-plus wins each of the past two years). Fans are also happy with most aspects of the team's organization: from customer relations (fourth overall) to affordability (eighth -- the average ticket price is fourth cheapest in the NHL) to ownership (eighth). Teats said owners Henry and Susan Samueli have put $100 million into the Honda Center and the surrounding area to enhance the fan experience. The Samuelis are also well-known for their philanthropic efforts in the area. "They walk the walk," Teats said. "People can relate to a pro sports team that is committed to giving back."
The main area of decline -- which likely accounted for the Ducks' slight dip overall -- was in coaching; the team dropped from 41st to 53rd. That's likely because the Ducks have lost three straight Game 7s at home to end playoff runs. But in fairness, coach Bruce Boudreau has led the Ducks further into the postseason than they've been since their 2007 title. In the spring, in their first conference finals appearance since '07, the Ducks were eliminated only after they took the eventual Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks to Game 7.
With the 2007 championship fading into memory, the Ducks dipped in title track from 12th to 18th. And the team's recent so-close-yet-so-far playoff disappointments have made fans that much hungrier for another Stanley Cup parade around the Honda Center. Teats noted that the Ducks aren't just trying to sneak into the playoffs; they're building for a championship run every year. "We're right there. We're in that upper echelon every time," he said. To get back to the top of our standings, the Ducks need to win a Game 7.