The Oklahoma City Thunder are ranked by ESPN as the fourth best professional franchise in sports

USA TODAY Sports

After the Thunder were considered the Best Franchise in sports in 2012, they dropped to the fourth best franchise this year.

After being crowned the best franchise in professional sports last year, the Oklahoma City Thunder are now being ranked as the fourth best franchise, according to ESPN the magazine. The magazine takes all sports franchises and ranks them based on a set of criteria determined by ESPN and Maddock Douglas (a Chicago based consulting firm). The Memphis Grizzlies took over the title of best franchise in sports from the Thunder.

The Thunder finished in the top 5 in the NBA in 7 of the 8 categories, which is still very impressive. They probably would have finished a little bit higher in the rankings had they not been ranked 54th in coaching. Scott Brooks holds them back in ways not only on the floor.

The NBA took it home this year as they were the top 4 franchises in all of sports, with the Grizzlies, Spurs, Pacers, and Thunder holding off all other sports. Apparently the NBA knows what it is doing when it comes to running good franchises, and it is notable that all four of the top NBA teams play in small markets. The interesting thing though is that there isn't another NBA team ranked until 25. Unfortunately, the NBA also claims the last spot, as the Sacramento Kings are ranked 122nd out of all sports franchises.

I don't really know how the Spurs didn't win the Best Franchise. They finished first in 4 of the 8 categories and one of them being fan Interaction, which held the largest weight in the formula. The Grizzlies actually didn't finish first in a single one of the 8 categories, yet still claim the top spot.

Either way it is still really impressive that the Thunder are valued as the fourth best franchise in all of sports. It is a pretty incredible thing that a franchise so great is in Oklahoma City. Credit goes to Clay Bennett and Sam Presti for the quality of the franchise and for the players and coaches who work hard to make OKC one of the best places to be a fan.

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