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Edmonton: not much of a hockey town?

The CFL, fifth-ranked sports league in other metro markets and #6 in Toronto, is #2 with teenagers here. Meanwhile, interest in hockey lags behind the national average. Taken from Reginald Bibby's latest [PDF].


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Comments (20)

It looks pretty tightly tied to "Does your city's hockey team have a shot at making the playoffs?"

I blame Pat LaForge for ruining a generation of hockey fans.


Very interesting. I used to be a huge Esks fan, especially during the Warren Moon era. Edmonton is a pretty serious sports town, and I think because of that people here appreciate the nuances of Canadian football. Hell, even my friends in Los Angeles (I used to live and work there) thought the nuances of Canadian football were interesting when I told them about three downs, etc.

Sean E:


Assuming the NHL and the CFL are the most Canadian of all the sports leagues, you can derive a Canadian sports patriotism ratio by dividing the sum of NHL+CFL by the sum of all the others.

Not surprisingly, Toronto is by far the least patriotic sports city, with a rating of 31%. Far too hip and modern for our quaint national pastimes.

Metropolitan Montreal, on the other hand, is the most patriotic at 104%.

Edmonton's at 96%, but should really get bonus points for being the only city where the CFL outpolls the NFL.


And yeah, Tyler, I think it's pretty clear that failing to make the playoffs for so many years dampens fan interest. I remember one of my profs last term asked whether people follow the Oilers, and most people in my class said, "NO."

It's also Kevin Lowe's fault! :0


When I look down at the park from apartment balcony in Toronto, the teens are playing cricket and soccer. Seldom do I see younger kids carrying hockey sticks. Contrast this with a Christmas visit to Edmonton where you could see the "youth" walking to the local outdoor rink in the early eveing with their sticks on their shoulders and the stickblade wedged in-between the skateblades.

That being said, I was surprised by the level of support for MLB in T.O.; I thought it would be much less.


I find these soccer numbers difficult to believe (which is not intended as a euphemism for "these numbers are wrong".) Toronto, possibly; Vancouver, maybe. But 21% of teens following soccer closely in Calgary?

Of course, even if 21% were simply pretending to care about soccer, that's still much higher than I'd have guessed would bother doing so (and the low MLB numbers suggest that they weren't unwilling to admit to a lack of interest.)

Any idea what the percentage of error per city was? I know Bibby was running 3% error nationally among adults; I assume those numbers to be higher for teens and much higher for specific cities - certainly to the point where the gap between the NBA and CFL is well within statistical error, and possibly higher still.


My 15-year-old daughter (in Edmonton) follows soccer more closely than any other sport. She spends her weekends watching Premier League and other European leagues that I know nothing about. So I don't discount the Calgary statistic outright.

As far as Edmonton and hockey ... ask any newspaper circulation department in this city how many papers the Oilers (don't) sell these days compared to even 10 years ago.

I didn't see anyone commenting about how sports-mad Vancouver teens are, across all sports.

Sure, they're edged out by Calgary and Montreal in the hockey rankings, but in all other sports they had the most interest.

I can come up with lots of theories about it, but I'd bet the actual sports-participation levels of Vancouver teens are Canada-leading, too.

I'm particularly interested in the NBA and NFL numbers. Even after the Grizzlies fiasco, there's still more interest in Vancouver than Toronto, and I thought T-zero was supposed to be eagerly awaiting the day when the Buffalo Bills move in.

The NBA number for Vancouver is amazing (granting JW's caveats about error bars). Given how the Grizzlies thing panned out, you'd think the numbers there would be half everyone else's, not double.

As far as Edmonton and hockey ... ask any newspaper circulation department in this city how many papers the Oilers (don't) sell these days compared to even 10 years ago.

Yeah, I dunno. My blog was at zero hits a day until 2006 and has since done quite well. There might be something other than just pure love of the Oilers driving those numbers, along with the Journal's.

So maybe the Vancouver people just follow the NBA because they hate it, like you hate the Oilers?


Well, there is the schadenfreude of watching Michael Heisley piss away more millions while the team attracts fewer fans and about the same number of wins as it did in Vancouver...

Lord Bob:

Soccer: 18%
Major League Baseball: 10%
Number of times Sportsnet preempts soccer on the west coast so we can watch the Mariners lose again: 100%



Checking in from Vancouver. Why is the NBA number so high? Probably because a lot of Chinese kids are basketball fans. A lot of the teenagers here -- a lot -- are Chinese or East Indian.

Why is the MLB number the highest in the country? Probably the B.C. players in the show (Morneau, Bay, Harden, Dempster, Saunders and more coming). Probably also one of the few areas where interest in baseball is higher now than 10 or 15 years ago.

Why are all the numbers, right across the board, relatively high compared to other cities? That is a head-scratcher. Yes, the climate lends itself to sports participation, but it's hard to say if that is what pushes the teenage fan numbers up.


One more detail ... if you're 15 years old now that means that the Grizzlies moved to Memphis when you were 8. That's not ancient history for you and me, but it is to a 15-year-old.


Re. NBA popularity in Vancouver...

Some of this may be because the best Canadian player in basketball history comes from this area, and still maintains a pretty high profile here despite the fact that he apparently resides in New York and Phoenix.

It may also have to do with the fact that BC high school basketball maintains a very high-profile and very compelling annual championship tournament, arguably one of the best high school sports tournaments on the continent.

I doubt very much that any young person carries any sort of residue from the Grizzlies era. It's rarely discussed locally, and NBA coverage gets short-shrift generally, especially from our imbecilic local sports radio station.

They forgot the most important sport of all in that ranking -- mini sticks! http://www.annarbortshirtcompany.com/store/product/ministickchamp


Having lived in Vancouver for 30 years I understand the basketball number. It is the one intra-school sport that each and every high school has. There are a smattering of hockey teams, football teams, track teams, etc, but all have basketball teams, or it seems so anyway.

The international flavour of the city helps, as I agree wi the the person above that South and East Asian kids seem to like basketball a little more than the next visibly identifiable ethnic group, but I don't see the Grizzlies as having been a plus in this area. High school basketball is leaps and bounds(hehe) ahead of anything the Grizzlies had to offer in the excitement department.

On a brief Edmonton NFL note, today a friend of mine wore his Eagles Jersey, and swears at least 30 people stopped him throughout the day to talk Michael Vick.

One briefly referred to the CFL as an "amateur league" until I asked him if he watched the Esks-Stamps on Thursday. He had. And he shut up.


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