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Thursday, September 6, 2012
Updated: September 7, 12:02 PM ET
No. 55: Philadelphia Flyers

By Scott T. Miller
ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 41
Title track: 62
Ownership: 41
Coaching: 25
Players: 42
Fan relations: 41
Affordability: 100
Stadium experience: 60
Bang for the buck: 65

In the past 17 seasons, the Flyers have missed the playoffs exactly once, made the Stanley Cup Finals twice and won 700 regular-season games (fifth most in the NHL) and 98 playoff games (fourth most). Their fans have responded with an almost unprecedented level of positive feedback -- at least for Philadelphia. The Philly faithful ranked the Flyers under the league average in only five of 25 categories we polled. The near-unanimous approval rating had one glaring exception: game-day costs. The team's costs per season (food, drinks and parking for each home game) were sixth-most expensive in the NHL, and no American-based NHL franchise had a higher average ticket price ($66.89). Last season, Philadelphia raised its ticket prices for the first time in three years, citing -- at least in part -- the staggering growth in the league's salary cap. Fans moaned and groaned but still went to games; the Flyers were in the NHL's top five in attendance for the fifth consecutive year. But you have to wonder whether that will change with another ticket price increase for the coming season. If history is any indication, Philly fans don't mind paying for a winner.