ESPN the Magazine Ranks Memphis Grizzlies Best Franchise in All of Pro Sports

Zach BuckleyNational NBA Featured ColumnistSeptember 18, 2013

It's a great time to be a fan of the Memphis Grizzlies.

In fact, ESPN The Magazine says that no fans have it better than the hoops heads in Memphis right now.

The publication unveiled the cover of its annual "Franchise Issue" on Tuesdaywhich will hit newsstands on Fridayand the Grizzlies garnered the No. 1 spot in professional sports:

ESPN ranks all of the organizations from the NBA, NFL, NHL and Major League Baseball. Each team is examined with a number of criteria in mind, which historically have included things like affordability, ownership, stadium experience and fan relations, according to The Commercial Appeal.

The Grizzlies have been climbing the NBA standings in recent seasons, and ESPN has tracked their ascent. In 2010, Memphis came in ranked No. 75. But it shot up all the way to No. 9 in 2011, then No. 5 in 2012.

Those top-10 rankings have coincided with the Grizzlies' current three-year postseason streak, which matches a franchise best. Last season's group set Memphis' new standard for wins (56) and playoff success (the Grizz made it to the Western Conference Finals).

Even as Memphis cements itself among the NBA elite, it remains one of the best economic values in the league.

According to a Dec. 2012 study by Jon Greenberg of, the Grizzlies had the second-lowest average ticket price last season, at $29.49. For comparison's sake, the New York Knicks led the way with an average price of $123.22.

Finding cheap basketball tickets is an incredible challenge today—but finding top-tier competition without paying a top-tier price tag is almost unheard of.

But it's not impossible...not with a bang-for-your-buck brand of ballers like the Memphis Grizzlies. Or, as ESPN now calls them, the best franchise in sports.