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In this post, we will check out the top 10 most popular sports in Canada in 2023.
In the vast landscape of Canadian sports, certain athletic pursuits have carved out a special place in the hearts of the nation.
As we step into 2023, the maple-leaf-adorned land continues to embrace its diverse sporting culture.
From the icy realms of hockey to the adrenaline-fueled racetracks, Canadians are avid enthusiasts of a wide array of athletic endeavors.
Join us as we delve into the pulse of the Great White North, unveiling the top 10 most popular sports that captivate the attention and passion of the Canadian public.
Whether it’s the thunderous cheers echoing in hockey arenas or the rhythmic cadence of cleats on soccer fields, Canada’s sports scene is a dynamic tapestry woven with fervor and national pride.
Top 10 Most Popular Sports In Canada 2023
In 2023, Canadian golf has swung into the limelight, achieving historic milestones and shattering long-standing barriers.
With more victories than ever, Canadian golfers triumphed in both PGA and LPGA Tours, notably, Nick Taylor’s awe-inspiring 72-foot eagle putt at the RBC Canadian Open, crowned the Shot of the Year.
This success rippled through various levels, securing full-time PGA Tour status for several Canadians in 2024. Internationally, Alena Sharp clinched a bronze at the Pan American Games.
The stage is set for a bigger spectacle in 2024, with the Paris Olympics and the return of the Presidents Cup to the Royal Montreal Golf Club.
The golfing prowess of Canada in 2023 garnered well-deserved recognition from the LPGA and PGA Tours, spotlighting Golf Canada’s National Open Championships.
This success has ignited a surge in Canadian enthusiasm for golf, inspiring a new generation of players. These achievements not only elevated the sport’s profile but also fueled growing support, reflecting the dedication and talent of Canadian golfers. As golf gains momentum globally, its promising future in Canada is evident.
The standout performances of Canadian golf in 2023 have firmly secured its status as one of the top sports in the country. The sport’s surging popularity, fueled by unprecedented success, has captivated sports enthusiasts nationwide.
Beyond the professional level, these victories contribute to the overall growth and development of golf in Canada, establishing it as a beacon for aspiring players and fans alike.
Curling continues to carve its icy path as one of Canada’s top 10 favorite sports. With a storied history, the nation has birthed numerous successful curling teams and players.
The 2023-24 curling season is underway, carrying the hopes of ending Canada’s major title drought since 2018. From the Canadian Mixed Curling Championship to the Scotties Tournament of Hearts and the Brier, the season promises thrilling events.
Notably, the Ferbey Four, a revered curling team, earned a spot in Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame this year, adding to the sport’s rich legacy.
As curling gains international traction, the Grand Slams showcase formidable competition, but for many Canadian fans, the Brier and Tournament of Hearts remain the pinnacle of national championships.
Basketball has slam-dunked its way into the hearts of Canadians, securing a spot among the top 10 most beloved sports in 2023. The surge in popularity, particularly among the 18 to 24 age group, with 17.6% closely following the sport, speaks volumes.
The game’s appeal spans diverse communities, as evidenced by the 13% of immigrants and 20.8% of new Canadians who closely follow basketball. Canada’s rich cultural tapestry, boasting over 450 ethnic origins, finds unity in the sport’s universal allure.
The rise of basketball in the Great White North is also fueled by competitive triumphs, notably the success of the Canadian senior men’s basketball team at the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
This achievement has undoubtedly contributed to the sport’s escalating popularity. Additionally, insights from Statistics Canada’s Survey Series on People and their Communities shed light on the diverse landscape of sports participation in the country.
As basketball dribbles its way into the mainstream, its widespread embrace among the youth, immigrants, and the nation’s diverse population solidifies its standing as a powerhouse in the Canadian sports scene. Basketball is number 8 in our list of the top 10 most popular sports in Canada in 2023.
Rugby is scoring big points on the Canadian sports scene, riding a wave of growing popularity.
Rugby Canada’s ambitious new strategic plan for 2024-2027 signals a bold bid to be a top-tier organization in the sport. The Canada Sevens tournament, a standout rugby event, has become a fixture in the country’s athletic calendar.
However, the disappointment looms large as the national team missed the mark, failing to qualify for the 2023 Rugby World Cup, a setback felt keenly by fans and the sport’s development in Canada.
Despite this setback, rugby’s roots run deep across the nation, intertwined with the early history of Canadian football.
The Canadian Rugby Championship, the apex of domestic rugby, unfolds its regular season from August to September, expanding each year with additional games.
The sport’s presence is palpable in all corners of Canada, and while the national team grapples with challenges, rugby’s domestic growth remains a beacon of promise.
With ongoing efforts and initiatives, the trajectory suggests that rugby will not only bounce back but also solidify its standing in the vibrant tapestry of Canadian sports.
Soccer clinches the sixth spot as the most popular sport among young Canadians aged three to 17, with a significant 16% participation rate, according to the Canadian Youth Sports Report.
While hockey maintains its stronghold as the preferred sport for 18 to 24-year-olds, with 21.8% engagement, a Leger poll for the Association for Canadian Studies reveals that less than a third of Canadians closely follow hockey.
Notably, basketball and soccer are gaining traction, especially among young people and new immigrants, showcasing their growth potential.
In Ontario, where hockey maintains a firm following at 24.3%, baseball comes in second at 11.7%. Among 18 to 24-year-olds, basketball closely trails hockey at 17.6%, and soccer secures third place at 12.4%, signaling promising growth for both sports.
Immigrants’ preferences also diverge, with 20.8% of new Canadians closely following soccer, surpassing the 13% following hockey. These shifting dynamics underscore the evolving landscape of sports preferences in Canada.
Cricket, a rising star among Canada’s top 10 sports, has secured its place with a dedicated following.
While ice hockey maintains its dominance, cricket’s growing popularity, fueled by a diverse demographic, is hard to ignore. The Global T20 Canada league has been a game-changer, drawing attention and recognition to the sport on Canadian soil.
Despite restrictions on test matches, Canada’s national cricket team actively participates in One Day International Matches, showcasing its competitive edge.
With a flourishing women’s cricket team and a U-19 squad, cricket has unmistakably etched its presence in the diverse tapestry of Canada’s sports scene. Cricket is number 5 in our list of the top 10 most popular sports in Canada in 2023.
Baseball stands tall as one of Canada’s top 10 sports, steadily gaining fans and players nationwide.
The Canadian approach to baseball fandom leans toward the casual, setting it apart from fervent followings in other countries. Notably, the sport’s popularity has surged in Quebec and Ontario, where dynamic growth is evident.
Quebec has witnessed a remarkable spike in girls playing baseball, with registrations doubling over the past decade, reaching nearly 5,500 in 2023.
Baseball Quebec’s proactive efforts, focusing on enhanced coaching training and promoting the game for girls, have fueled this surge.
Ontario, too, has experienced a surge in baseball popularity, boasting 31,626 players in 2023, up from 22,983 in 2014. The Toronto Blue Jays, Canada’s lone MLB team, have played a pivotal role, contending for championships and galvanizing the sport’s growth.
While baseball’s fandom in Canada exudes a more laid-back vibe, the sport’s undeniable popularity continues to thrive and evolve across the country.
The unique Canadian approach offers an opportunity for Major League Baseball to leverage its position as a beloved sport, particularly during its exclusive season.
Despite not overshadowing the dominance of hockey, football, or basketball, baseball’s presence in Canada remains robust, signaling ongoing growth and vitality. Baseball is number 4 in our list of top 10 most popular sports in Canada in 2023.
3. Canadian Football
Football is scoring big in Canada, as revealed by a November 2023 national survey conducted by sociologist Dr. Reginald Bibby. A robust 33% of Canadians identify as close followers of the Canadian Football League (CFL) and/or the National Football League (NFL).
The CFL commands a solid 26% following, outpacing the NFL’s 21%. Impressively, 92% of Canadians prefer the CFL, deeming it more exciting than its American counterpart.
However, regional variations in CFL popularity exist. In the prairies, particularly Winnipeg and Sask, the CFL ranks second only to the NHL, while in other provinces, it competes with the Blue Jays and a fair share of NFL fandom.
Toronto, however, presents a challenge for CFL recognition, with limited awareness of the league’s existence. Despite these regional nuances, the survey underscores the CFL’s national prominence, surpassing the NFL’s overall Canadian following.
Lacrosse stakes its claim among Canada’s top 10 sports, showcasing prowess in the Men’s Lacrosse Championship.
Canada ranks 6th in goals and 3rd in assists, but a home crowd witnessed a 7-5 defeat by the United States in the World Lacrosse Men’s Championship opener.
Despite the pandemic, lacrosse gained momentum, especially among youths, securing International Olympic Committee recognition in 2021.
The lacrosse market is projected to reach significant heights, forecasting a USD million mark by 2029. In the 2023 Fall Classic, Dyson Williams, the 1 NLL Draft pick, led Canada to an OT victory, signaling lacrosse’s ascent as a major player in Canada’s sports industry and globally.
1. Ice Hockey
Ice hockey stands unrivaled as one of Canada’s most cherished sports, deeply ingrained in the nation’s cultural fabric.
A Statista study affirms its status as a national pastime, with a whopping 93% of Canadians expressing affection for the sport.
The National Hockey League (NHL) amplifies this love, boasting a massive following among over half of internet users aged 18 to 64 who identify as sports fans.
The allegiance to ice hockey resonates strongly through the fervent support for NHL teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers, transcending regional boundaries.
The sport’s accessibility, coupled with Canada’s climate, contributes to its widespread popularity, facilitated by abundant ice rinks and the nation’s cold, snowy weather.
While surveys hint at the rising popularity of other sports like basketball and soccer, particularly among the youth and new immigrants, ice hockey’s supremacy endures.
Leger’s survey for the Association for Canadian Studies indicates potential challenges to its dominance. Nevertheless, ice hockey remains an integral part of Canada’s sports culture, steeped in history, and supported by a dedicated fan base nationwide.
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