Tuesday, November 20, 2012

History of fandom: Who goes to the game, anyway?

This piece in the National Post says a recent Leger poll for the Association for Canadian Studies finds that "only" 39% of Canadians have attended a National Hockey League game live in the last five years. The writer interprets this as meaning the NHL is simply too expensive for most Canadians to see live.

Well, everyone knows the NHL is too expensive. What astonishes me is the claim that almost 40% of Canadians have attended a game in recent years. (In Alberta, with two teams and relatively high average incomes, it's over 50%.) I would have guessed maybe ten percent of Canadians see a game live once in a while. Forty percent seems like phenomenal penetration. Obviously there is no limit to what they can charge!

I wonder what the comparable figure is for the Canadian Football League.  It has some of the low-glamour, low-cost, down-home, not American buzz that somehow makes one think that real people actually get out there and cheer.Indeed, this Grey Cup week, the Post also has a story on the "brings us together" role of the CFL and the Grey Cup. Do 40% of Canadians claim to see a football game once in five years.

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