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By David Coletto

With news that the Canadian men’s soccer team qualified for the 2022 World Cup taking place later this year in Qatar, we wanted to understand how Canadians feel about it and whether they will be cheering on Team Canada.

Now, I admit, I’m not a huge fan of soccer. As an Italian-Canadian, I often get engaged and interested in the World Cup through the excitement of family and friends – many of whom were disappointed that Italy didn’t qualify for the World Cup this year

THE CONTEXT: 2 IN 5 CANADIANS ARE SOCCER FANS

Overall, 2 in 5 Canadians say they are either big or casusal fans of soccer. This is about average for other sports we tested as well. NHL hockey remains the most popular sport (64% are fans) followed by the other three major North American professional sports leagues. About as many people are fans of soccer as they are of CFL football, NBA basketball, and tennis.

Soccer fans tend to be male, younger, and concentrated in Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia. They are more likely to have a university education and live in urban or suburban communities across the country.

THE CONTEXT: ABOUT A THIRD OF CANADIANS USUALLY FOLLOW THE WORLD CUP CLOSELY OR SOMEWHAT.

When asked how closely they usually follow the World Cup, 12% said they follow it closely while another 23% follow it somewhat. 44% don’t follow it at all.

SIX IN TEN ARE AWARE THAT TEAM CANADA QUALIFIED FOR THE 2022 WORLD CUP

Just over six in ten Canadians said they were aware that the Canadian men’s soccer team qualified for the 2022 World Cup. Those who are fans of the sport, not surprisingly, were far more likely to be aware, although even half of non-fans knew the team qualified.

1 IN 3 CANADIANS SAY THEY WILL FOLLOW THE WORLD CUP MORE CLOSELY THIS YEAR BECAUSE TEAM CANADA QUALIFIED.

Team Canada’s entry into the tournament has increased interest in the World Cup for about 1 in 3 Canadians. Another 15% say they are less interested this year than in the past. Of note, 1 in 5 non-fans of soccer say they will follow the tournament more closely because Team Canada has qualified.

MORE THAN 60% OF CANADIANS WILL BE CHEERING FOR TEAM CANADA AT THE WORLD CUP

When asked who they will be cheering for at this year’s World Cup, 52% said they would only be cheering for Team Canada, 9% said they would be cheering for Team Canada and another team, while 5% said they would be cheering for a team other than Team Canada.

Among big fans of soccer, 67% will be cheering for Team Canada while another 23% have dual loyalties. 10% will be cheering for another team besides Team Canada.

Interestingly, Quebecers were the least likely to say they would be cheering for Team Canada. Moreover, younger Canadians were more likely to cheer for another team than older Canadians.

UPSHOT

According to David Coletto: “For the first time in more than 30 years, Canadians will be able to cheer on their home team at a men’s World Cup. Millions plan to follow the tournament more closely than they typically do, offering the sport a chance to engage an even larger audience and promote interest in the sport. Right now, 4 in 10 Canadians consider themselves fans of soccer. If Team Canada continues to surprise and delight fans, expect that to grow after the World Cup wraps this fall in Qatar.”

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METHODOLOGY

The survey was conducted with 2,000 Canadians from April 4th to 9th, 2022. A random sample of panelists were invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are typically double opt-in survey panels, blended to manage out potential skews in the data from a single source.

The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.19% 19 times out of 20.

The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

This survey was paid for by Abacus Data Inc.

Abacus Data follows the CRIC Public Opinion Research Standards and Disclosure Requirements that can be found here:  https://canadianresearchinsightscouncil.ca/standards/

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