Toronto the worst city for pro sports teams?
Published Monday, June 20, 2011 11:14PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 5:07AM EDT
Toronto Maple Leafs president and general manager Brian Burke is lashing out at an ESPN report that dumps all over the city and its professional sports teams.
The report by ESPN The Magazine dubbed Toronto the worst city for pro sports teams in North America, based on the fans' return on the amount of time, money and emotion they invest in a team.
Burke took aim at the report Monday, defending Toronto, its sports franchises and its fans.
He called the report "absurd and offensive."
"I don't think ESPN knows squat about Canada," Burke told reporters. "I don't think they know squat about hockey."
For the rankings, more than 70,000 fans cast votes online in 21 categories, including fan relations, affordability, stadium experience, players and coaching.
When combined, Toronto's teams earned the lowest average score compared with other cities.
The Maple Leafs are ranked as the worst "bang for your buck," while the Blue Jays are the fourth-worst Major League Baseball team, according to the magazine. The Raptors were dubbed the third-worst NBA team.
The top franchise was the Green Bay Packers, the NFL's reigning Super Bowl champions, followed by the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning.
In Burke's eyes, Toronto is a great sports town with a lot to offer fans, although he admitted they haven't had much to cheer about in years.
"Our teams have to give the fans more to cheer about here, but I remember seeing the baseball stadium full when the Jays won two world championships," Burke said.
The report, part of ESPN The Magazine's annual "best in sports" issue, took North America's major pro sports leagues – the NHL, NFL, MLB and NBA – into consideration.
Major League Soccer and the CFL weren't included in the study.