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Bengals among top 60 in ESPN’s Ultimate Standings 2016

The methodology for these rankings is certainly different than many other team rankings of its kind.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN has released its 14th annual Ultimate Standings 2016, ranking the top sports franchises, across all leagues. The list is an interesting one, especially considering that some of the franchises you'd expect to be at or near the top are found at or near the bottom of the list.

For starters, it's an NHL team (the Tampa Bay Lightning) that comes in at the No. 1 spot and an NBA team (the San Antonio Spurs) at No. 2. The Carolina Panthers come in at No. 3 as the first NFL team on the list. Then quickly, many more NFL teams are at the top of the ranking. the Packers, Cardinals, Seahawks, Patriots, Broncos and Chiefs are all among the top 20 teams across all franchises. And, the Steelers aren't far behind, coming in at No. 22 overall. The Ravens rank 26th.

Where do the Bengals rank? In the middle of all NFL teams, as the 16th NFL team and 59th ranked organization overall.

16. Cincinnati Bengals (59 overall)

The Bengals have steadily gained more respect over the years as they continue to post winning seasons, as seen by a 28-point jump in these standings. These are not the losing Bengals of the '90s anymore; they win, and they win often. But until they can prove they can do it in the postseason too, they'll likely remain in the middle of the franchise rankings. . --Coley Harvey

Among the NFL teams ranked lower than the Bengals are the Browns (30, 119), Giants (18, 75), Bills (19, 76), Cowboys (22, 89), and 49ers (32, 122).

The Cincinnati Reds come in on the last as the 81st overall team and 20th ranked MLB franchise out 30.

So, how are these rankings for the Ultimate Standings created?

The method to our ultimate madness

It takes four steps for us to rank the 122 franchises in North America.

First: Consulting firm Maddock Douglas surveyed 1,031 fans to form 25 criteria for the things most desired in return for the emotion, money and time they invest.

Second: Teaming with NetReflector, an opinion research firm, ESPN.com asked fans to rate their home teams in each area; more than 72,000 of you did! We grouped grades into seven categories.

Third: Our final measure, bang for the buck, uses calculations developed with Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center to figure how well teams turn fans' money into wins.

Finally: We combined each team's scores across all categories into a weighted average. The result? Rankings that combine fan opinions and how well teams turn your dollars into wins. Ultimately, it all counts.

Affordability (12.2%): Price of tickets, parking and concessions 



Coaching (2.8%): Strength of on-field leadership


Fan relations (27.2%): Courtesy by players, coaches and front office toward fans, plus how well a team uses technology to reach fans

Ownership (12.8%): Honesty; loyalty to core players and the local community

Players (14.7%): Effort on the field, likability off it

Stadium experience (11.7%): Quality of arena; fan-friendliness of environment; frequency of game-day promotions

Title track (3.9%): Championships won or expected within the lifetime of current fans

Bang for the buck (14.7%): Wins in the past two years per fan dollar, adjusted for league schedules

What do you think about the Bengals’ ranking and the list overall?