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Is soccer officially Canada’s new favorite sport?
Jun 6, 2022, 10:58:00 AM

Is soccer officially Canada’s new favorite sport?

Interest in hockey is declining in popularity amongst Canadians, despite being the national sport and home to the most successful NHL team.

A recent study by sportsbet.io found that Google searches related to hockey in Canada dropped by a whopping 15 points compared to just six years ago.

Is there a new sport heading for the top spot, or will hockey continue to be the beloved sport for the nation? 

Google Trends were scoured to see how the nation's interests peaked for five sports throughout Canada.

Ice hockey, basketball, soccer, football and baseball were all compared to see who came out on top.

Since 2015, all sports have seen a decline in search interest. With 100 being the value of a search term's peak popularity, 50 suggests that the term is half as popular, whilst 0 suggests there is limited data.

While hockey had a steady gradual decline in interest throughout Canada, soccer saw a less steady rate, only dropping by 3 between 2018 and 2021.

Home of the first team to win an MLS domestic treble, Toronto FC, Canada has become a breeding ground for impressive soccer. With the men’s national team reaching the World Cup for only the second time, and the women’s team claiming gold at the 2020 Olympics, soccer might just be challenging hockey for the top spot.


(Image: FIFA)

Soccer has already claimed the top spot in Ontario. When looking at search trends per province, Ontario’s searches in 2021 for the five sports saw 37% go to soccer, and only 24% for ice hockey.

British Columbia, home of the Vancouver Whitecaps, is following the ways of Ontario. The province saw that 38% of their searches were soccer related, with 25% going to hockey. 

But it’s not all over for the country's national sport. Nearly 50% of their searches went to ice hockey in New Brunswick and Nunavut.

Ice hockey is without a doubt, the most popular in all other provinces - and still very popular in Ontario and British Columbia.

The success of their national teams is also a testament to how loved the sport is. The men have 27 gold medals in the IIHF world championships, and nine Olympic golds. The women with 11 IIHF golds and five Olympic golds. A team isn’t that successful without support from its nation.


(Image: S.Yume) 

Football was one of the least popular search terms overal in Canada, however Saskatchewan saw 12% of their searches being for gridiron football. The only province to have higher than 10% for this sport.

In Quebec, basketball is one of its least searched with only 9% of the provinces’ searches for this sport. While Yukon saw 18% of their searches for basketball.

Meanwhile, in Newfoundland and Labrador, baseball is more popular here than in any other province. 15% of its searches were for the sport, with the lowest percentage for baseball coming from Yukon with 7%.

Betting trends

While hockey is the most popular sport in Canada, it seems fans are less willing to stake bets on their beloved sport.

Previous data suggests that basketball isn’t the most popular sport in Canada, however, it sees the most money wagered, with only a small difference between 2018 and 2021.

In contrast, ice hockey saw small scale betting in 2021, a significant drop since 2018. COVID19 protocols in the 2020/21 season changed many things in the NHL, this could be a contributing factor as to why less was bet on Canada’s favorite.

With the increased interest in soccer, it was the only sport that sportsbet.io saw an increase in numbers compared to 2018.

Canadian Sports Betting Market Share Percentage


Interest in hockey is declining in popularity amongst Canadians, despite being the national sport and home to the most successful NHL team.

A recent study by sportsbet.io found that Google searches related to hockey in Canada dropped by a whopping 15 points compared to just six years ago.

Is there a new sport heading for the top spot, or will hockey continue to be the beloved sport for the nation? 

Google Trends were scoured to see how the nation's interests peaked for five sports throughout Canada.

Ice hockey, basketball, soccer, football and baseball were all compared to see who came out on top.

Since 2015, all sports have seen a decline in search interest. With 100 being the value of a search term's peak popularity, 50 suggests that the term is half as popular, whilst 0 suggests there is limited data.

While hockey had a steady gradual decline in interest throughout Canada, soccer saw a less steady rate, only dropping by 3 between 2018 and 2021.

Home of the first team to win an MLS domestic treble, Toronto FC, Canada has become a breeding ground for impressive soccer. With the men’s national team reaching the World Cup for only the second time, and the women’s team claiming gold at the 2020 Olympics, soccer might just be challenging hockey for the top spot.


(Image: FIFA)

Soccer has already claimed the top spot in Ontario. When looking at search trends per province, Ontario’s searches in 2021 for the five sports saw 37% go to soccer, and only 24% for ice hockey.

British Columbia, home of the Vancouver Whitecaps, is following the ways of Ontario. The province saw that 38% of their searches were soccer related, with 25% going to hockey. 

But it’s not all over for the country's national sport. Nearly 50% of their searches went to ice hockey in New Brunswick and Nunavut.

Ice hockey is without a doubt, the most popular in all other provinces - and still very popular in Ontario and British Columbia.

The success of their national teams is also a testament to how loved the sport is. The men have 27 gold medals in the IIHF world championships, and nine Olympic golds. The women with 11 IIHF golds and five Olympic golds. A team isn’t that successful without support from its nation.


(Image: S.Yume) 

Football was one of the least popular search terms overal in Canada, however Saskatchewan saw 12% of their searches being for gridiron football. The only province to have higher than 10% for this sport.

In Quebec, basketball is one of its least searched with only 9% of the provinces’ searches for this sport. While Yukon saw 18% of their searches for basketball.

Meanwhile, in Newfoundland and Labrador, baseball is more popular here than in any other province. 15% of its searches were for the sport, with the lowest percentage for baseball coming from Yukon with 7%.

Betting trends

While hockey is the most popular sport in Canada, it seems fans are less willing to stake bets on their beloved sport.

Previous data suggests that basketball isn’t the most popular sport in Canada, however, it sees the most money wagered, with only a small difference between 2018 and 2021.

In contrast, ice hockey saw small scale betting in 2021, a significant drop since 2018. COVID19 protocols in the 2020/21 season changed many things in the NHL, this could be a contributing factor as to why less was bet on Canada’s favorite.

With the increased interest in soccer, it was the only sport that sportsbet.io saw an increase in numbers compared to 2018.

Canadian Sports Betting Market Share Percentage

Sport 

2018

2021

Change

Basketball

25.40%

24.80%

-0.60%

American Football

13.80%

10.30%

-3.50%

Soccer

8.40%

9.40%

1.00%

Baseball

20.40%

6.30%

-14.10%

Ice Hockey

12.30%

3.00%

-9.30%


*Additional sports not included make up the 100%

With Canada’s appearance in the men’s World Cup later this year, where they face Belgium, the second best team in the world based on FIFA rankings, Croatia, and Morocco, a bigger rise in searches, and bets, might be seen as we head towards the tournament.