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SPORTS: Oklahoma City Thunder

Thunder Ranked No. 4 Pro Sports Franchise

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

ESPN the Magazine released its annual ‘Ultimate Standings' on Monday, ranking all 122 professional sports franchises in the country, and the Thunder rumbled its way back into the top five.

In fact, the magazine declared the Thunder as perhaps representing "the model NBA franchise."

Oklahoma City came in at No. 4 this year, a slip from being ranked No. 1 overall in 2012, but it's an impressive placement nonetheless. The primary reasons given for the Thunder's minor slip was the letdown in the postseason following Russell Westbrook's injury and some management decisions.

That was about it for the negatives but the list of positives was extensive.

OKC ranked in the Top 10 in five of the magazine's categories in all of pro sports and ranked in the top 5 in seven of the eight NBA categories.

Some of the reasons for Oklahoma City's high ranked included its on-court success, stadium experience, low ticket prices (8 percent below average), low concession prices (29 percent less for a beer), and a whopping 70 percent lower cost for parking.

The Thunder ranked third overall in players, third in fan relations and fifth in affordability. OKC also ranked eighth in both stadium experience and bang for your buck.

The lowest OKC ranked in any NBA-specific category was coaching, coming in at No. 12.

One big drop in this year's ranking came in the ownership category, where Oklahoma City slipped 12 spots; a likely result of the James Harden trade.

Interestingly, all three teams to rank ahead of Oklahoma City were also NBA franchises. The Grizzlies came in at No. 1 with San Antonio and Indiana ranking second and third, respectively.

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