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Canadians Think Grey Cup Is Important Part Of Culture, But Few Will Watch, Survey Finds

11/28/2014 04:00 EST | Updated 01/28/2015 05:59 EST
More than half the Canadians who took part in a recent online survey agreed the Grey Cup is an important national symbol but less than half that number plan on watching and younger Canadians are even less inclined.

Overall, 47 per cent agreed "the Grey Cup is an important part of Canadian culture and identity" and another six per cent went even further, agreeing that it "defines Canadian culture and identity."

The response to the poll, which was conducted by the Angus Reid Institute and distributed to The Canadian Press, was fairly evenly split between men and women with men holding a slight edge but only 39 per cent of those between 18 and 34 were sold on the significance of the event. The number climbs with age, reaching 52 per cent of those 55 and older.

But when it comes to actually watching the CFL championship, only 24 per cent overall said they will definitely watch Sunday. Another 36 per cent weren't sure, with some waiting to see who was playing, while 40 per cent won't be watching.

Men outnumbered women among the watchers (33 per cent to 16 per cent) and the disparity was also great based on age, with only 19 per cent of the 18-34 group planning to tune in and 31 per cent of those 55 and older. The middle age group came in at 23 per cent.

Support in general for the Grey Cup and CFL was stronger in Western Canada and strongest of all in Saskatchewan, where the CFL tops even the NHL in popularity more than 2-to-1.

In the rest of Canada, the NHL is the most closely followed league, according to the survey, with the CFL a distant second (40 per cent to 21 per cent). Major League Baseball is third at 18 per cent and at the bottom of the list the NBA edges out Major League Soccer at eight per cent and seven per cent.

The CFL is still more popular than the NFL, which came in fourth at just 17 per cent, but when it comes to marquee football games, the Super Bowl edges out the Grey Cup.

Asked to pick which game they'd watch if they could only watch one, 52 per cent nationally picked the Super Bowl and 48 per cent picked the Grey Cup. Again, in Western Canada the Grey Cup was an easy winner, maxing out in Saskatchewan and Manitoba at 77 per cent each.

And, once again, age told the tale with 61 per cent of those 55 and over picking the Grey Cup and 65 per cent of those aged 18-34 picking the Super Bowl.

The numbers come from an Angus Reid Institute online survey involving 1,504 Angus Reid Forum panellists conducted between Nov. 18-21. The polling industry's professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error as they are not a random sample and therefore are not necessarily representative of the whole population.