Pandemic Curbs Interest in Pro Sports Across British Columbia

About a quarter of the province’s residents are less interested in five different local professional sports teams.

Vancouver, BC [July 6, 2021] – Fewer British Columbians are paying attention to the province’s professional sports teams this year, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, more than one-in-four British Columbians say they are currently less interested in the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League (CFL) (28%), the Vancouver Canadians of High A-West baseball (27%) and the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League (WHL) (also 27%).

Slightly smaller proportions of British Columbians are paying less attention to the Vancouver Whitecaps of Major League Soccer (MLS) (25%) and the Vancouver Canucks of the National Hockey League (NHL) (23%).

Across the province, 15% of British Columbians say they are now more interested in the Canucks. The numbers are lower for the Whitecaps (8%), the Lions (also 8%), the Giants (5%) and the Canadians (4%).

“The loss of interest is more profound among male residents of British Columbia for all five professional sports franchises,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing teams to play their home contests either without fans or in the United States, the drop is understandable.”

More than a third of British Columbians (37%) say they own merchandise or apparel from the Canucks. The Lions are next on the list with 13%, followed by the Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball (MLB) (11%).

Fewer than one-in-ten British Columbians own merchandise or apparel from the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League (NFL) (9%), the Whitecaps (7%), the Giants (5%), the Canadians (also 5%) and the Seattle Mariners of MLB (also 5%).

Ownership of merchandise or apparel from the NHL franchise reaches 37% among men and 46% among British Columbians aged 35-to-54. One-in-five residents of the Fraser Valley (20%) own merchandise or apparel from the Lions.

More than three-in-five British Columbians (63%) say the Canucks are the team that most accurately represents the province, up 10 points since a similar Research Co. survey conducted in March 2019.

The Lions are a distant second on this question with 10%, followed by the Whitecaps with 4%, the Giants with 2% and the Canadians with 1%.

In a Research Co. survey conducted in June 2020, 61% of British Columbians thought it would be a “very good” or “good” idea to have an MLB team in Vancouver.

Methodology: Results are based on an online study conducted from June 18 to June 20, 2021, among 800 adults in British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here.

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.



Photo Credit: Matt Boulton