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Last year's ranking: 19
Title track: 66
Fan relations: 50
Stadium experience: 30
Bang for the buck: 64
Nolan Ryan resigned as Rangers chief executive last fall amid speculation that he was being forced out, paving the way for co-chairman Ray Davis to become the controlling owner. Messing around with a native son and Hall of Famer did not sit well in Arlington: The Rangers plummeted 43 spots in ownership to 71st.
Things have not gone smoothly on the field, either, with close to two dozen players spending time on the disabled list by the end of July. And yet, despite all this, baseball fans still show up, all the more remarkable because it's a football-crazy town. The Rangers were fifth in AL in attendance with over 34,000 per game. "We continue to try to do everything we can to promote our brand and bring fans to the park," says Rangers VP John Blake. The arrival of free-agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo went over well with the local Korean community. The club added a dedicated sales rep to serve the fan base, and a Korean Heritage Night in July attracted several thousand fans above the season average.
The Rangers have put about $40 million into improvements at Globe Life Park over the past four years, including the installation of LED lighting on the relief panels on the exterior of the park. The end result is a ranking of 30 for stadium experience, the highest for the club in any category. Fans have also been loyal because the average ticket price of $4.79 is five bucks below the major league average. Parking is a reasonable $12, and now you can pay with a credit card. "It seems like a small thing, but it makes life easier for fans," Blake says. That helps, but what the fans want most is a streamlined disabled list.