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Sports Illustrated’s Ballpark Rankings

Wednesday, 30 Apr 2008 | 4:26 PM ET
Progressive Field
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Progressive Field

There are so many surveys going on these days that you have to generate some sort of controversy to generate any sort of buzz.

Sports Illustrated obviously realizes this so I’m sure they are happy with the results of their new ballpark rankings like this:

1. Cleveland Indians – Progressive Field
2. Milwaukee Brewers – Miller Park
3. Pittsburgh Pirates – PNC Park

The SI guys allowed fans to rank all 30 MLB ballparks based on these criteria: affordability, food, team quality, tradition, atmosphere, fan IQ, hospitality, promotions, traffic and neighborhood.

That’s how they came up with those three teams at the top, while classics like Wrigley Field (15th) Yankee Stadium (ranked 20th) Fenway Park (ranked 21st) Dodger Stadium (ranked 22nd) weren’t even close.

But, as Team Marketing’s Jon Greenberg also points out,if Progressive Field was so good, how come the Indians are 23rd in the league in attendance while four teams whose stadiums are ranked in the bottom third are in the top 10 in attendance?

Two answers I can think of here. Either the people who show up are very happy and the people that don't just don't realize how good it is. Or--and what I think the main issue really is--the 10 categories simply can't be weighed equally, as they did.

Let's get this out of the way. Hospitality is an idiotic category. How the opposing fans are treated? Who cares? FanIQ doesn't belong in a ballpark ranking, either. Instead, they should have had a ticket availability category. In other words, how easy is it to get tickets? That's much more important to a ballpark than the people that are in it and it's easier to quantify too.

As far as the weighing goes, there's no way that team quality can be weighed the same as food and promotions. Team quality is the number one factor as to whether you go to the game or not. Food is an important part of the experience, but anyone who has been to a lot of parks knows that there's not a big swing in food as there once was.

Every one has caught up to the game with all the new stadiums being built. Most teams don't have good promotions anyway, so it's a shame that the Red Sox get hacked for not having good promotions when they have no reason to have any in the first place.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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