ESPN The Magazine has proclaimed the Grizzlies "the best franchise in sports" on the cover of the issue hitting newsstands on Friday.
The magazine each year ranks franchises in the NBA, NFL, NHL and Major League Baseball using such categories as affordability, ownership, stadium experience, fan relations and "bang for the buck," which factors in wins and revenue directly from fans.
The Grizzlies ranked No. 5 in 2012, trailing only the Oklahoma City Thunder, Green Bay Packers, San Antonio Spurs and Indiana Pacers. The Griz were No. 9 in 2011, but as recently as 2010 ranked only 75th. Their rise in the magazine's rankings has followed their rising fortunes on the court -- including a Western Conference Finals appearance last season -- and at the gate.