Survey says: 49ers hit rock bottom

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It’s been a long time since the 49ers won anything of significance, but right now, the team and its fans are swollen with pride.

Or maybe they’re just retaining water.

Stand proud, 49ers fans: Your team has done it.

In ESPN the Magazine’s annual “Ultimate Standings,” a ranking of the 122 franchises in the four major pro sports, the 49ers are No. 1 … if you stand on your head to read the standings.

 That’s right. Dead last. The 49ers are the worst franchise in sports. More wretched even than the Oakland A’s (No. 115), whose owners don’t even pretend to try.

I risk being penalized 15 yards for piling on here, considering the 49ers’ current six-game death spiral, but this last-place ranking is a stupendous non-accomplishment.

For an entire year, the 49ers will be recognized as professional sports’ gold standard for manure.

More about the 49ers in a moment, here’s how the other Bay Area teams fared:

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•Giants, No. 18. The Giants have MLB’s best stadium, best roster (several stars, mostly homegrown), best fan relations and best ownership. Damn!

The Giants get downgraded for expensive tickets, parking and beer (second-stiffest bar tab in baseball), but made a 79-spot jump in fan relations.

•Sharks, No 30. They score high for well-liked players, second-year head coach Peter DeBoer, and “The Deep,” their creative chronicle of the season. And for reaching the Stanley Cup Finals.

•Warriors, No. 33. Second-best roster in the NBA, behind only the Spurs (ouch!). They dropped 17 spots this year, mostly because of a dip in fan relations and average stadium experience, and rising ticket prices.

•Raiders, No. 85. Up 20 spots, thanks to head coach Jack Del Rio and the sense that owner Mark Davis and general manager Reggie McKenzie have gotten smarter. Top marks for fan loyalty, which is tragically unrequited, but a No. 121 ranking for stadium, ahead of only…

•A’s, No. 115. ESPN incorrectly calls Lew Wolff the worst owner in sports. Common mistake. The team’s primary owner is John Fisher, an absentee MLB slumlord who lets Wolff serve as a public punching bag.

The A’s get good marks for finding some solid young players, but probably get dinged on the assumption that most of those players soon will be traded.

Why does the A’s stadium rank below the Raiders’ stadium, when it’s the same stadium? Maybe because the Raiders’ dressing room is upstairs, but the A’s clubhouse is downstairs, below the sewage high-tide line.

•49ers, No. 122. Lord, who snipped the elevator cables? Two years ago, the 49ers were No. 27 overall. Then they dropped 19 spots, then 76 more this year!

“That’s super-impressive sinking!” commented San Francisco’s Millennium Tower.

The 49ers get high grades for the franchise’s history of success and for the Chip Kelly hire, but those factors are losing luster quickly.

What does this last-place ranking mean? It means the 49ers should salute themselves by selling beer at Levi’s for $1.22 a cup. (No, Jed York, not $122.00.)

Seriously, the Ultimate Standings give us perspective. You can’t judge an oil painting if your nose is on the canvas. The rankings allow us Bay Area folks to step back and see that the 49ers’ painting depicts a bunch of dogs dressed like Elvis, playing poker.

The No. 122 rating wipes out the possibility that local criticism of the 49ers is nothing but provincial whining, nostalgia-wallowing and media overkill.

The rankings are based partly on a fan survey, and it could be argued that Bay Area fans have been soured on the 49ers by the carping media, including this newspaper.

But the ratings are based heavily on hard science and numbers-crunching.

The 49ers rank dead last in the NFL in affordability and fan relations. They are No. 118 overall in ownership.

This one is eye-popping (or eye-gouging): The 49ers rank No. 105 in stadium experience. Folks, the paint is barely dry on Levi’s Stadium.

I saved the bad news for next-to-last. The situation could get worse. Let me count the ways:

•Potential looms for a mutiny of seat-license owners, angry and panicky as their investment plummets.

•Levi’s is either too hot or too nice, or both. Fans flee their seats to hide out in their fan-cave VIP bars, sucking team-supporting and mood-enhancing energy out of the stadium.

•There is scant hope on the horizon. The roster has too many holes to plug; the front office has too few (like, zero) capable hole-pluggers.

•Team ownership — led by Jed York, who runs the team for his mom/team owner Denise DeBartolo York — shows little aptitude for team ownership.

Congratulations for hanging in until the end, because here’s the good news: The No. 122 ranking could be the rock bottom needed for Denise to realize it’s time to sell the 49ers.

Scott Ostler is a San Francisco Chronicle columnist. Email: sostler@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @scottostler

Survey methodology

Here’s how ESPN the Magazine creates its “Ultimate Standings”:

A consulting firm surveys fans to form the criteria for what fans value most.

ESPN, with an opinion-research team, asks fans to rate their home teams in seven categories.

Lastly, a sports-marketing firm crunches numbers to compute how well teams turn fans’ money into wins (“bang for the buck,” which counts 14.7 percent in the overall analysis).

Here are the categories in the fan polling (and how much weight each carries in the final analysis): fan relations (27.2 percent), players (14.7), ownership (12.8), affordability (12.2), stadium experience (11.7), title track (3.9), coaching (2.8).

Source: ESPN

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