Poll Results Indicate Many Canadians Don’t Want The NFL To Be Here At The CFL’s Expense | The Canadian News

A new national poll indicates that many Canadians don’t want the NFL to be here at the CFL’s expense, but it may also reinforce the biggest challenge facing the Canadian league.

The survey of 1,512 Canadians was conducted Nov. 19-21 by Reginald Bibby, a sociologist at the University of Lethbridge, in association with Maru Public Opinion. Bibby has been following national sports trends since 1990.

In the survey, 34 percent of those surveyed said they didn’t want the NFL in Canada or wanted it only if the CFL also survived. But while 11 percent said they would welcome the NFL coming even at the CFL’s expense, the majority (55 percent) didn’t care much by any means.

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That could illustrate the general malaise currently plaguing CFLs.

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On a positive note, the CFL continues to have a slightly larger following in Canada than the NFL (21 percent compared to 20 percent). But in recent years, and in 2021 in particular, some concerns have arisen.

“The fact that 21 percent of Canadians say they follow the CFL, on par with the NFL, but almost 50 percent have thoughts about the possibility of the NFL coming to Canada suggests considerable interest in the topic. Bibby said. “It’s higher than about 30 percent in 1995.

“If we asked how people feel about the possible disappearance of the CBC, I suspect that a large number would also say that ‘they don’t care much in any way.’ What’s puzzling is that interest in the CFL, while still impressive given that the league receives virtually no publicity through the US media, has waned slightly in recent years. That needs to be addressed. “

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The league resumed in 2021 after skipping the ’20 campaign due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the level of play has been slow to return after a year off, with Winnipeg Blue Bombers (23 offensive points per game) the highest-scoring team and Montreal Alouettes (371.8 yards per game) the highest-earning offense.

Compare that to 2019, when the Hamilton Tiger-Cats led the CFL in scoring (26.1 points per game) and offense (393.7 yards per game). That prompted suggestions that the league has an entertainment problem, which could partly explain why the average attendance this year is just 19,164, up from 22,917 two years ago.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers fans celebrate near the end of the fourth quarter as the Saskatchewan Roughriders leave the stadium during the second half of CFL soccer action in Regina, Sunday, Sept. 5, 2021.


Sunday’s playoff games at Hamilton and Regina were not sold out. A gathering of 21,892 was at Tim Hortons Field (capacity over 23,000) for the Ticats’ 23-12 East Division semifinal victory over the Montreal Alouettes, while 24,001 spectators watched the Saskatchewan Roughriders cut through. Calgary Stampeders 33-30 in overtime in the Western Division contest. at the Mosaic Stadium (capacity for over 33,000).

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In 2011, the average CFL attendance was 27,767.

Nowhere are the CFL’s attendance problems more pronounced than in Toronto, its largest market. Argos (9-5) finished atop the East Division but averaged just 8,603 fans per game, a figure that’s somewhat skewed by BMO Field’s meeting of 10,851, the best season of the season, which saw the club. secure first with a 31-12 home win over the team. Ticats on November 12.

Toronto hosts Hamilton in the East final on Sunday. Saskatchewan is in Winnipeg for the Western Final, and the Bombers sold more than 29,000 tickets for that contest.

The survey asked respondents: “How do you feel about the expansion of the NFL in Canada?” Sixteen percent didn’t want that to happen (compared to 20 percent in 2013 and 13 percent in 1995), while 18 percent were fine with it only if the CFL survived (20 percent in 2013, 11 percent in 1995).

The 55 percent who didn’t care was up from 51 percent in 2013, but still down from 67 percent in 1995. That suggests the topic has been of interest to about half of the Canadian population for some time.

Not surprisingly, the pro-CFL sentiment was evident in western Canada. Respondents in British Columbia (19 percent), Alberta (26 percent) and Saskatchewan-Manitoba (35 percent) did not want the NFL in Canada.

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Those numbers decreased if the NFL came north and the CFL still existed (16% in BC, 20% in Alberta, 21% in Saskatchewan-Manitoba). And only nine percent of British Columbia respondents would be happy to have the NFL here if it meant the end of the CFL (11 percent in Alberta and nine percent in Saskatchewan-Manitoba).

CFL sentiment in eastern Canada was not as strong. Fourteen percent of Ontario respondents wanted the NFL in Canada, while that was down in Quebec (eight percent) and Atlantic Canada (11 percent).

21% in Ontario would support the NFL in Canada if the CFL also survived, with 17% support in Quebec and 11% support in Atlantic Canada. The numbers fell to 11 percent, 13 percent and 10 percent, respectively, regarding the happiness of seeing the NFL come north at the expense of the CFL.

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But again, the overwhelming number of respondents didn’t care at all (54 percent in Ontario, 62 percent in Quebec, 68 percent in Atlantic Canada). And demographic age didn’t matter either, as 56 percent of those ages 18 to 62 said they didn’t care compared to 55 percent in the 35-54 class and 54 percent in the 55-plus class. .

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The CFL has recognized that it wants to be younger with its fans, and Bibby feels the poll is good news for the league on that front.

“Nationally, the proportion of adults, ages 18 to 34, who follow the CFL is 21 percent, identical to that of the NFL,” he said. “What makes the CFL fan base look older is that the league has a higher proportion of fans in the 55+ category: 28 percent versus 19 percent for the NFL.

“Add up all the CFL fans and they look older; focus on soccer fans who are between the ages of 18 and 34 and are as likely to follow the CFL as the NFL. “

Fans hold up “My Hero” cards during the second half of CFL football game action between the Hamilton Tiger Cats and the BC Lions in Hamilton, Ontario. on Friday, November 5, 2021.


But Bibby said that with entertainment competition everywhere, the CFL needs more flair.

“It should highlight the talent and personality of its players,” he said. “Add more excitement and entertainment to your broadcasts, make every home game an event and leverage its long and unique history wisely.

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“That includes its stars and events from its past, to underscore its important place in Canadian culture.”

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Hockey remains the sport of choice among Canadians, with 38 percent of those surveyed saying they closely follow the NHL. However, that’s less than 40 percent in 2016 and 46 percent the year before.

Professional soccer is solidly in second place (30 percent), but similarly interest is down from 32 percent in 2016 and 34 percent in 2015. Major league baseball is closely followed by about 20 percent of Canadians, ahead of the NBA (15 percent). percent) and Major League Soccer (10 percent).

© 2021 The Canadian Press


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