Article About Levels of CFL Interest Nationwide

from the Toronto Sun:
Only half of Canadians are CFL fans
52 per cent not interested

By STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

This is our league.

That’s the bold statement made by the Canadian Football League. It’s splashed on their website, marketing materials and on their fields and across television screens.

But do Canadians really care?

Fewer than one in five (16%) of those taking part in a country-wide Leger Marketing poll commissioned by QMI Agency punched in an “interested? rating from eight to 10 on a scale of one to 10.

More than half (52%) of the sample of 1,500 Canadian men and women 18 or older who participated from Aug. 2-4 clicked “not interested? numbers from one to three.

At first glance, the results are obviously disappointing. Upon further review, however, it seems the uniquely Canadian brand is pretty healthy.

Another 32% of those polled came in from the four- to seven range in rating their interest in the CFL.

Consider them the casual fans.

“Those are the people that may be interested when it comes time for the Grey Cup,? said Leger vice-president Dave Scholz. “Go to a Grey Cup party, maybe keep track once in a while, watch some highlights, but not necessarily go to a game or watch the game on television.?

If you combine the casual fan with the die-hards who rated high on the Leger poll, the results are strikingly similar to what the league’s own research department has come up with — and they’re plenty happy with the state of our game.

“What our research shows is there’s very strong interest among Canadians,? said Rob Assimakopolous, the CFL’s senior vice-president of marketing and commercial assets. “About 50% of Canadians consider themselves either a huge fan or a casual fan. That’s about half of Canadians 18 years and older.

“The strength of the CFL is really good.?

Nowhere is that more evident than the prairies — Saskatchewan and Manitoba — where the QMI Agency poll returned an incredible response of 44% on the high end of the scale.

That jumps to a whopping 75% when you include the casual fans.

“I’m not surprised by the results. You see it when you go out to the prairies,? Scholz said. “When you’re walking down the streets of Regina and it’s game day, you see nothing but a sea of green walking around. Everyone’s wearing their jersey. Everyone’s into the game.

“In a lot of ways, it’s similar in Manitoba with the Blue Bombers there.?

The CFL is the biggest ticket in town in the prairies, with no National Hockey League teams in either province.

Alberta — home of the Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Eskimos as well as the NHL’s Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers — follows the prairie provinces in celebrating Canadian football with 22% of the high-interest variety responses and another 32% considered casual fans. Quebec edges B.C. by a hair, and Ontario — a province with as many options as a Canadian sports fan can ask for — comes in well ahead of Atlantic Canada.

Time zone differences for TV viewership, and the lack of a team to root for in the region is the obvious cause for the Maritimes pulling up the rear. Hopes are high that will improve, though, with the league scheduling a regular-season game in Moncton, NB, this season.

Tickets for the Sept. 26 game between the Edmonton Eskimos and Toronto Argonauts at the University of Moncton’s new stadium were sold out in just 32 hours in March.

“The incredible demand for football is actually there,? Assimakopolous said. “It’s our job now to understand it better, prove it out and determine whether or not potentially (adding a team in Atlantic Canada) could be something we do in the future.?

The future appears strong for a league that Assimakopolous says is seeing TV audiences of more than 880,000 tune in this season, and an average of about 28,000 coming through the turnstiles per game — comparable to the what’s considered the gate-driven CFL’s heyday in the 1980s.

By the time the 100th Grey Cup contest is played in 2012, maybe a few more fans will be clicking in the eights, nines or 10s to rank their interest in the CFL.

“We’re looking forward to the day we can look at those numbers with even more pride,? said Assimakopolous. “Especially with the momentum we’re seeing now with the brand.?

All poll results are considered accurate to plus or minus 2.5 points.

Interesting to see that Ontario rates higher than Atlantic provinces for CFL interest..

that will change if meritimes ever gets a team

It would've been interesting if the poll also asked about interest in the NFL.
I wonder what that bar graph would look like going west to east.

Or the NHL for that matter. 52% interest actually isn't bad I don't think.

As for the maritimes... we don't have a team, and a lot of games are on so late they're unwatchable out here. So it's not surprising. (11:30pm local time isn't a very good start time for us.)

perhaps he should do a Manitoba West Article.

and see how the 5 teams out west in the CFL love their team and have very few issues getting fans out!

I'm surprised Quebec is that low ! Not sure how you can put another team in that province with numbers that low ?

well it doesn't help when you have over 7 Million people in Quebec alone..

Typical "Toronto Sun" misleading headline. :roll:

it is an odd headline, isn't it?
especially after is goes on to talk about attendance numbers and better year - TV viewership.
the TV numbers are off the charts - they are NHL-esq.
I think we get a team in the maratimes and we'll see the CFL numbers creep up
I think the CFL is loved because of the Candadian content and the players are relateable. they are not millionaires.

I think a team in Quebec city would raise the interest significantly. I am sure it's hard for them to cheer for any other team in the CFL. If Calgary didn't have a team, it would be a struggle for me as well.

I would agree. I think interest in Quebec is based on not having a team outside of Montreal. By all accounts football programs have seen huge enrollments in Quebec, so I doubt that there is no interest in football. If you don't have a team nearby to root for, how much interest can you have? I would think that if a team went into quebec city those numbers would change. BC is another misleading number too. Vancouver has a large diverse population. I'm not sure how you can get an accurate representation. And its also a same situation as elsewhere, once you get outside vancouver, with no other team elsewhere, how much interest, besides casual interest, can you expect? And I agree on the Maritimes. As is evident by the sellout of the Moncton game, there is CFL interest out there. The one question about that game though is I would like to know how many tickets went to the local area and how many went to fans outside Atlantic canada who are going there for a road trip game and to party and other promotional tix given out by the CFL. IIRC the Moncton game was a 5 year plan, so I guess there'll be a better appreciation for fan interest out there once the series gets into its 3rd and 4th years and its less of a novelty.

The fact the BC Lions don't have natural rival (geographic or otherwise) really hurts. There is no annual "fill in the blank" game. They just play a bunch of teams.

I remember seeing a similar pole by the NHL and the numbers were around 65 percent or a little less , so 52 percent is excellent. Clearly the #2 brand behind the NHL in Canada. What more could one expect

That means 17 million canadians are CFL fans.
People need to remember, not everyone is a sport fan, much less necessarily a CFL fan.
52% is still good. If the maritimes got a team, it would help increase popularity in that region. That is the big reason why the CFL is serious at looking at the possibility of a team,.

I think the poll, like any poll is extremely mis leading and whoever created it is trying to make a point in someone's favour.

It's really not a big deal that only 48 percent of people are either a fan or casual fan of the CFL.

be thankful that they are what they are!

This is from QMI Agency. (Quebecor)

FWIW I have a free print copy of yesterday's Toronto Sun w/ headline:

A strong future fo CFL?
Just how interested are Canadians in their game?

Their breakdown

[b]BC[/b] 49% Not 37% Somewhat 15% Yes

Alberta
45% Not
32% Somewhat
22% Yes

Manitoba/Saskatchewan
24% Not
31% Somewhat
44% Yes

Ontario
60% Not
27% Somewhat
11% Yes

Quebec
48% Not
35% Somewhat
16% Yes

Atlantic
63% Not
30% Somewhat
5% Yes

This breakdown confirms what would have been my suspicions on where the lower levels of interest are present, and likely those of others as well, though I am surprised at just high the percentages of no interest at all are for Ontario and Alberta with two pro teams each and for Quebec with its rich history in football.

More than half (52%) of the sample of 1,500 Canadian men and women 18 or older who participated from Aug. 2-4 clicked “not interested? numbers from one to three.
Wow...what a bizarre poll. Not counting maniacs in Rider country...what women ANYWHERE are interested in ANY team sport? The headline should read:

“Almost ALL (96%) of the sample of 750 Canadian men 18 or older who participated from Aug. 2-4 clicked ‘some interest’ numbers one to three”

GREAT! The league is doing GREAT

:D :D :D :D :D

Disclaimer: Any resemblance between this remark and abject sexism is purely coincidental