Nova Scotia Journal

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Many Canadians don’t want the NFL to come to Canada

Canadians don't want the NFL to come to Canada

Key Takeaways:

  • A new national poll indicates that many Canadians do not want the NFL to come to Canada at the expense of the CFL.
  • It may also highlight the Canadian league’s biggest challenge.

Reginald Bibby, the sociologist at the University of Lethbridge, surveyed 1,512 Canadians from November 19 to November 21 in collaboration with Maru Public Opinion. Since 1990, Bibby has been tracking national sports trends.

According to the survey, 34% of respondents didn’t want the NFL in Canada or wanted it only if the CFL survived. However, while 11% said they would welcome the NFL even if it meant the demise of the CFL, the majority (55%) said they didn’t care.

That could exemplify the general malaise that currently afflicts the CFL.

On the plus side, the CFL still has a slightly larger fan base in Canada than the NFL (21 percent compared to 20 percent). However, some concerns have emerged in recent years, particularly in 2021.

“The fact that 21% of Canadians follow the CFL — on par with the NFL — but nearly 50% have thoughts about the NFL possibly coming to Canada suggests significant interest in the issue,” Bibby said. “It’s higher than the 30% or so in 1995.”

“If we asked people how they felt about the new’s possible demise, I suspect a large number would say they ‘don’t care much either way.'” What is concerning is that interest in the CFL, while still impressive given the league’s lack of exposure in the United States media, has been declining slightly in recent years. That must be addressed.”

After missing the 2020 year due to the COVID-19, the league resumed in 2021. However, the level of play has been slow to return after a year off, with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers scoring the most (23 offensive points per game) and the Montreal Alouettes gaining the most (371.8 yards per game).

“Nationally, the proportion of adults aged 18 to 34 who follow the CFL is 21% the same as the NFL,” he said. “What makes the CFL fan base appear older is that the league has a higher proportion of fans aged 55 and up 28% versus 19% for the NFL.”

“When you add up all CFL fans, they look older; when you focus on football fans aged 18 to 34, they’re just as likely to follow the CFL as the NFL.”

Source: Global News

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