Last Updated: August 27th 2021, 6:46 pm

Canada Gripped by the Soccer Craze

As sports go, there's only one king – soccer. European football may not be as popular in North America as it is in its homeland, yet it’s the world’s game according to sources such as the German Bundesliga website, which reports that over 250 million people play soccer in more than 200 countries.   


You can tell the game is becoming globalized by the fact it's now challenging the likes of American sports such as American Football in the US. It's likely that we'll soon see Canada sucked into the frenzy: the country could easily end up like its neighbor and find itself the next destination to be gripped by the soccer craze.  


The Globalization of Sports Markets  


In many ways, the growth of soccer is inevitable due to the mass globalization of sports markets. As matches from around the world are easier to consume, such as the English Premier League and Spanish La Liga, it’s only natural that audiences in locations like Canada will begin to sample what they've historically ignored or not been privy to. Widespread internet access and high bandwidths have ensured that spectators can stream almost any game they're wanting, so regardless of the location or the time zone where the game is being played, they can still engage from the comfort of their own homes.


Soccer isn’t the only sport to have become transnational over the last couple of decades. Basketball is one of the prime examples of globalization, especially the Toronto Raptors. This team was only formed in 1995, however, by 2001, the franchise had made it to its first Eastern Conference semifinals. As a result, in-person attendance figures and TV audience figures skyrocketed in a country where generally sports like ice hockey and Canadian football tend to dominate. Figures from ESPN highlight how the trend has continued to this day, with the Raptors averaging 19,032 people in 2019. Baseball followed a similar path as the Toronto Blue Jays were formed in 1977 and were a household name in Canada by the 90s.  


Of course, the current era gives soccer an advantage since it can rely on the internet to help its cause. Apart from a plethora of streams for customers to choose from, there's also the link between the sports and gambling industries. As Bonusfinder Canada points out, sports betting is a popular gambling game, with customers getting access to an endless variety of events, from traditional Canadian sports to soccer. Seeing as 33.7 million people had a mobile internet connection in 2021, according to Statista, it’s feasible that soccer will benefit from the relationship that’s already been established between the internet and the sport. 



The Evolution of Canadian Demographics  


When people from different cultures arrive in the country, they bring their likes and habits with them. Therefore, there's a direct connection between changing demographics and the rise of customs that didn’t exist before. Soccer is just one of the sports that's increasing in popularity over the last decade, which coincides with the latest census.  


In 2016, 20% of the Canadian population were from outside of the country, with CBC projecting that the figure may increase to over 30% by 2031. As far as soccer is concerned, this is bound to be healthy for the game as global civilizations are usually fans. The Euro 2020 final numbers for Canadian TV put this into perspective. 3.6 million average viewers tuned in to the English-language coverage out of a population of around 35 million.  


So, it already appears as if soccer is making headway in a region where it tends to perform less effectively. As such, it’s not wrong to suggest the Great White North is open to welcoming the sport onto its shores.