Magic No. 74 in ESPN’s Ultimate Franchise ranking

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images/Bleacher Report
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images/Bleacher Report

Predictably, the Magic have seen their popularity and notoriety as a franchise decrease with the team's departure of All Star Dwight Howard.

Orlando finished with the worst record in the league last year and are in Year Two of a long-term rebuild to overhaul the franchise after Howard's ugly departure. Another season with less than 30 wins and without much notoriety — just one national television game — seems to be in the cards.

It is no surprise then to see the Magic ranking low in ESPN the Magazine's Ultimate Franchise Standings. But the Magic's future continues to look brighter and brighter. By some measures, the Magic are continuing to grow. That includes the Ultimate Franchise Standings.

In one year, despite that record, the Magic climbed three spots to 74th. That is one spot ahead of the Jaguars and three spots ahead of the Lakers.

Here is part of what Morty Ain of ESPN the Magazine wrote on the Magic:

Even marketing had to adjust. A Papa John's promotion, which rewarded fans with 50 percent off their order if the Magic scored 110-plus in a win, had to be downgraded to 50 percent off for any win. Yet despite finishing as an NBA doormat, the Magic still moved up 12 spots in the players category (and three spots in the overall standings) thanks to a textbook case of addition by subtraction. Think Central Florida is delusional? Then check out March 12 when Dwight Howard made his only visit to Orlando. Amid a sea of boos and Dwight Coward signs, D-12 trolled back by blowing kisses to the crowd, peppering your mama jokes at fans and racking up a season-high 39 points. The performance went over as well as that time Howard skipped out on his own youth camp last August to rehab in SoCal.

With projectors fearing the worst, the Magic dropped from one of the premier basketball franchises in 2011 to one of the middling franchises. Orlando was 77th last year after the Dwight Howard trade.

Gary Bassing/Orlando Magic

Orlando's ratings in the standings this year took a hit in the Bang For Your Buck category. There, the Magic finished 98th out of the 122 teams. The analysis from ESPN says the Magic were charging "playoff roster prices just to enjoy the new digs." With the news that the Magic's actual turnstile attendance was lower than the announced attendance, this is not too surprising. Magic games have a much different feel about them now with the team struggling to win.

Winning is the ultimate way for fans to feel like they are getting the most for their dollars.

Amway Center though continues to draw rave reviews, earning the Magic's highest rating this year. The Amway Center stadium experience ranked 32nd and the affordability of going to a game (that ranks the cost of tickets, parking and concessions) is 53rd. Everything else for the Magic is in the high 70s and around where they ended up being ranked.

The Memphis Grizzlies finished first and the Sacramento Kings finished last in ESPN's poll.

As the roster continues to grow, the Magic should continue to climb. For now, the ranking seems about right.

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily