Toronto's sports teams are scoring low points both on and off their respective playing surfaces, according to ESPN The Magazine's Ultimate Standings.
In the ninth annual list of rankings published by the U.S.-based magazine, the sports broadcast giant listed Toronto's sports teams among the bottom in some eight categories including bang for the buck, fan relations, affordability, stadium experience, and overall franchise performance.
The categories, ESPN said, were based on what fans want from their teams.
Of the 122 North American pro sports teams, Toronto's top teams ranked among the lowest, with the Maple Leafs placing 120th, the Raptors placing 116th, and the Blue Jays placing 63rd.
Significantly outscoring the Toronto Teams were the Super Bowl-winning Green Bay Packers (1) and the National Hockey League's Tampa Bay Lightning (2).
The Toronto Maple Leafs, one of the most lucrative sports franchises in the world, placed 22nd in the 30-team NHL this year with 85 points, while the NBA's Raptors, also owned by Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment, placed 27th in the league out of 30 teams.
Aside from the CFL's Toronto Argonauts' Grey Cup triumphs in 1996, '97 and 2004, Toronto sports fans haven't seen championship glory since baseball's Blue Jays won back-to-back World Series titles in 1992 and '93.
Brian Burke, the president and general manager of the Maple Leafs, called the rankings "absurd."
"I don't pay any attention to stuff like that. I don't think ESPN knows a whole hell of a lot about hockey, and I certainly don't watch them to learn anything about hockey," he told reporters.
"You're talking about one of the great sports towns in the world, in my opinion. No one complained about this as a sports market when the Blue Jays won two World Series titles."
However, Burke, who has also held executive positions in Vancouver and Anaheim, as well as with the NHL head office, conceded that Toronto has to do a better job at shedding its so-called "loser image."
"Obviously the pro teams here — us included — need to do better to shed this kind of a label. But to talk about the marketplace as not being a great sports city, I mean, what does ESPN know about Canada, anyway?"