Under normal circumstances – normal being when fans were allowed to attend sports events in large numbers and phrases such as “super-spreader” and “pandemic” and “COVID-19 protocols” weren’t part of our everyday language – our exercise in ranking Southern California’s major teams and franchises would come down to a simple question:
If your favorite team won a championship, how many people would show up at the parade?
We’re still a long way from testing that theory. We have champions, but we haven’t had fans in stadiums and arenas, much less parades, for almost a full year. But we will plunge ahead with our ranking of SoCal’s major league teams and major college programs from 1 to 15, though it’s probably fairly easy to figure out who’s No. 1 (or more appropriately Nos. 1 and 1A).
A reminder of the ground rules of this ranking, which This Space has done sporadically since 2005 (and last did in 2019): It’s based on a mix of competitive success, ownership/administration commitment to success, historic importance, fan interest and passion. Relevance, in other words, in North America’s most diverse sports market.
It is designed to be an argument starter, as well as a reminder to those who run teams and franchises of what they need to improve. And if you don’t like your favorite team’s ranking, as always, you know who to blame.
The list, with the 2019 ranking in parentheses:
1 – Lakers (1):…