Strong first round viewership could dwindle for rest of playoffs with loss of Canadian teams and big stars
By ANGUS REID INSTITUTE
April 25, 2019 – Canada’s Stanley Cup drought was extended again this year, and a lot quicker than most hockey fans hoped. With the Calgary Flames, seeded first in the Western Conference, and the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets both believing they could be playing well into May, parts of this country were buzzing with playoff fever.
But just two weeks into the post-season, all three teams are out, while the streak of futility among this nation’s teams adds another year. No Canadian team has lifted Lord Stanley’s Cup since the Montreal Canadians did so in 1993.
A new study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds that more than half of Canadians (56%) were tuned in to the first round of the playoffs with three of Canada’s provinces represented.
While many Canadians are likely disappointed with the poor showing by Canada’s teams, executives at Canada’s broadcasters – Sportsnet and CBC – probably woke up Wednesday feeling morose as well. In 2016, when no Canadian teams qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 1970, fewer than half of Canadians (45%) said they would be tuning in.
More Key Findings:
- There’s always next year. Asked which team they believe will be the first to bring the Stanley Cup back to Canada, 31 per cent of Canadian hockey fans choose Toronto, while one-in-five choose Winnipeg (18%). Montreal and Calgary are the two other teams with double digit support on this question, each receiving 10 per cent
- A Stanley Cup would likely mean a lot to Canadians. Among those who follow hockey, 62 per cent say that they are willing to cheer for any Canadian team if their favourite is knocked out.
- Hockey remains the pinnacle of Canadian professional sports. Four-in-ten Canadians (37%) say they follow the NHL, double the number who say this of Major League Baseball (19%), the National Football League (18%) and the Canadian Football League (18%).
Link to the poll here: www.angusreid.org/canadian-collapse-nhl-playoffs