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Patriots named most innovative team in the NFL

Related: Patriots are in good financial shape heading into the offseason. Other teams, not so much.

New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Ever since Bill Belichick’s arrival in 2000, the New England Patriots have been at the very top of the NFL when it comes to innovation — both on the field and from a bigger-picture perspective. A recent study by Sports Innovation Lab has now put a number to this after evaluating the world’s sports franchises based on three categories:

  • Revenue diversification: Sports properties going beyond ticketing, concessions, media rights and traditional sponsorship to drive fandom.
  • Technology focus: Leveraging specific technologies to power fan behaviors.
  • Organizational agility: Staffing for the future while focusing on leveraging skill sets and prioritizing diversity.

All of this focuses more on business than actual on-field performances or coaching, but the Patriots are still in very good shape. They are one of only four NFL teams to make the 25-franchise list that is topped by English soccer team Manchester City and check in at number 13. The other three pro football teams are all ranked lower:

14. Green Bay Packers

19. Seattle Seahawks

22. San Francisco 49ers

The analysis itself is pretty soccer-based and Eurocentric, though: 14 of the 25 teams on the list are competing in Europe’s top soccer leagues. The other clubs are all playing in the United States, with six of them competing in the NBA.

“There’s a shift in the business model of sports,” Angela Ruggiero, CEO of Sports Innovation Lab, told Bloomberg News. “The ranking is an assessment of who is set up to succeed in the changing sports industry.”