In a dismal year for Canadian NHL hockey fans, basketball is on the rise.
In a recent Angus Reid poll, Canadians were quizzed on what the Raptors' deep run into the NBA playoffs means to them. In a nation where hockey reigns supreme, they came up with some surprising results.
In a normal year, four-in-ten Canadians consistently follow the NHL, while only one-in-ten say the same for the NBA.
But with every Canadian team now knocked out of the NHL playoffs, Game 1 of the finals between the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues averaged a paltry 1.8 million Canadian viewers, whereas the first game between the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors averaged double that at 3.3 million Canadian viewers.
Asked whether they had to choose between watching the Stanley Cup finals and the NBA finals, 38% of Canadians said they would watch hockey, while 33% would choose basketball and 29% would opt out of watching both. But that changes when you take age and gender into account. Slightly more young men between 18 and 35 years old would choose basketball over hockey, whereas more men over 55 would stick with hockey.
Now that the Toronto Raptors are in the finals, 40% of Canadians are paying attention and 19% are watching every game, according to the poll.
Whether the team wins or not doesn’t seem to be a huge concern as 76% of respondents say they won’t be disappointed if the Raptors lose. Making it to the finals, they say, was enough.
Of those polled, about half said they would give the Raptors a 50/50 chance of winning the championship, with 18% saying they’ll win.
Drake and his "curse" appear not to bother most of those polled: 26% said he’s good luck, 6% bad luck and 43% said he has no impact either way.
In one of the most divisive results to come out of the poll, Canadians — and indeed British Columbians — are torn as to whether the Toronto Raptors belong to the city of Toronto or to Canada as a whole, with 47% saying the Raptors are Canada’s team and 45% saying they’re a Toronto team.
Quebec, on the other hand, was more decisive, with 56% of those polled saying Toronto can keep them.