Soccer is giving ice hockey a run for its money when it comes to popularity. The recent poll conducted by Leger for the Association for Canadian Studies says that 12.4% of 18 to 24-year-olds see it as the most popular sport, behind ice hockey (21.8%) and basketball (17.6%). The numbers are even higher in British Columbia, where 13% of interviewees follow soccer.
In this article, we are going to investigate the cause of such a remarkable rise in the popularity of soccer and the love that Canadians have for the sport, so stay tuned.
Canada’s Changing Demographics Brings Love for Soccer
Roughly 20% of the entire population in Canada are immigrants. That means there are approximately eight million immigrants in the country who are likely to import their interests and love for different sports along with them. Statistically speaking, soccer is the most popular sport in the world, with over 3.5 billion fans, so the odds are new Canadians are going to let their love for soccer show.
Soccer is also cheaper to play as a recreational sport, which is particularly important for newcomers to the country. The fact inadvertently leads to an increase in its popularity on the local level.
During the 2022 World Cup, we saw Canadians storming the streets, waving flags from back home, and proving why there were so many viewers for Canada’s matches at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. In fact, almost 50% of all Canadians tuned in to watch the national team take on Croatia, making it the second most-watched sports broadcast of the year.
Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team Returns to FIFA World Cup
Canada Soccer’s men’s national team played in the FIFA World Cup for the first time in 36 years, having finished first overall in the Concacaf Final Round of FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. Despite the team finishing the group stage with three losses, they stood their ground against Belgium, Croatia, and Morroco, especially knowing that two of these teams finished the competition in the top four.
The performance at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar brought the team Canadian Press Team of the Year award with 23 of 48 votes in favour, and the boys earned it. They played an attractive, attacking brand of soccer, trying to be the first team to score a goal, which has contributed to the rise of viewership for their matches.
Best Soccer Leagues Boost Presence in Canada
Another contributing factor to the improved popularity of soccer in Canada is the on-demand access to the English Premier League, La Liga, the MLS, and other top-flight competitions. Now, more and more fans of the game are spending their Saturdays and Sundays watching the clashes in the EPL, available on Fubo in 4K and HD quality.
An increasing number of Canadians betting on the English Premier League is another testament to the place soccer has in the hearts of sports fans. In fact, the majority of $2B (14%) of total wagers placed in Ontario stem from wagering on soccer.
Good outings by Toronto FC in the Major League Soccer (MLS), especially during the 2017 season when the team won a treble with the MLS Cup, Supporters’ Shield, and Canadian Championship trophies, hailed a rekindled interest in the sport.
Canada is gearing up for the 2026 FIFA World Cup as one of three host nations, alongside the USA and Mexico. The next edition will host 48 teams with a new and exciting format. As such, it’s a perfect opportunity for the national team to make a deeper run than last year and demonstrate to the world that their good games against heavy favourites were no fluke.
However, one thing is certain — Canada’s hosting of the World Cup and the potentially good performance of the national team are bound to make soccer even more popular.Copyright © 2023 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.