The growth of the NFL in Canada

While this season isn’t the easiest for both players and fans across the NFL, TV viewership across Canada has continued to grow at an incredible rate this season by double-digit percentages through week 8. This surge in viewership may come as a surprise after year on year rates have been lower than usual, in which Sunday daytime viewership in Canada has declined by 8% since early 2016 in the early afternoon period and by 12% in the late afternoon period. However, surprisingly this year’s increase has certainly made up for the previous year’s losses.

Image by 3D Animation Production Company from Pixabay

So what’s the reason for this increase in popularity in the NFL across Canada this year? And you’re probably also wondering how to go about creating your fantasy football team and who the top picks are. Well if that’s the case, continue reading to find out…

What’ the NFL viewership across Canada compared to the CFL?

While Canada has their own football league – the CFL, statistics are beginning to show that the NFL is rapidly rising in popularity throughout the country, with many regions now watching more NFL than they do CFL.

Whilst many of the Western regions of Canada prefer and still strongly support CFL, the NFL still has a growing presence across these regions, with half of consumers in the Prairie regions watching the NFL.

What’s more, Ontario seems to be one of the most promising regions for NFL growth, in which half of all football fans in the region watch the NFL, compared to just one fifth that exclusively watches the CFL. These statistics are rather surprising being as the province is home to three of the CFL’s nine franchises and no NFL teams. This shows that the NFL is indeed gaining an ever-growing presence in Canada, despite home loyalties.

Why the sudden popularity in watching NFL?

According to Canadian TV, in recent weeks, NFL viewership across Canada has grown by 33%. These number seem to be increasing, and particularly on Sundays nights, in anticipation for week nine where the Packers play against the Patriots and for week ten where the Cowboys face the Eagles. In addition, the NFL have made further decisions on weeks 11 through 14 where the next four Sunday nights will feature the likes of Vikings-Bears, Packers-Vikings, Chargers-Steelers, and Rams-Bears.

One of the reasons for the popularity of the NFL across Canada seems to be the key differences between NFL and CFL which makes the game more exciting and something a little different for the Canadian audience. With a variety of different players and a whole different range of skill sets, it seems that Canadians are turning towards something a little different.

Who are the top picks for NFL this season?

Some of the top NFL picks this season that are taking Canada’s interest include the New England Patriots, with Tom Brady being dubbed as the favourite player. Records show that this team are attracting the highest amount of football betting interest from Canadians this season, in which there’s plenty of betting options, from spread betting to many options that fans can follow and wager on.

In addition, the Buffalo Bills are incredibly popular across Canada, partly due to their proximity to Ontario as they’re just 15 miles away and only 2 hours across the border. In fact, they even play some of their home games in Toronto, which adds to Ontario fans loyalty to the team. However, not all Ontario NFL fans are supportive of the team, with many opting to support the likes of the Pittsburg Steelers, the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots.

Across the Prairie regions of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, fans have historically had limited access to NFL games and as such, when they do get the opportunity to watch a game, it’s usually the Minnesota Vikings. Many fans in this region still wager of the Vikings, with parents passing their love of this team down to their offspring, however as viewership continues to expand, fans are now also beginning to wager on the likes of the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears.

What about the popularity of CFL?

Whilst NFL is rising in popularity, it seems that CFL won’t be going anywhere, as Canadian fans remain loyal to the sport. With a 150+ year history and some authentic differences in the sport, including different pitch sizes, it seems that many Canadians still find the CFL more exciting than NFL – so for all the CFL fans out there, the sport definitely isn’t about to lose popularity anytime soon.

Ready to start wagering on your favourite NFL team this season? Well now is the time to get started. With the Packers looking highly promising this season, the question is will regional fans wager where their loyalties lie?




About Joel Levy 2301 Articles
Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography