BLOG | by Tracy Schoenadel

Canadian Profiles – Are Canadians more likely to follow a US hockey team if it’s closer to the border?

We love it when we have a new dataset to look through and this month’s addition – Canada Profiles – is no exception. Let’s see what it can do.

From a marketer’s point of view, that’s a useful theory to test – it answers the question of whether I should concentrate my Canadian marketing spend on teams in or close to the Canadian market itself or whether it’s just as effective to target all teams with a large North American following.

The first thing to note is that, unsurprisingly, Canadian NHL teams have the biggest followings in Canada. The Montreal Canadiens are the country’s most popular team among hockey fans, with more than a third (35.6%) following their fortunes, with the Maple Leafs just behind them (at 34.9%).

But leaving aside the ‘home’ teams, what about the followings of the rest of the NHL’s teams? If they are closer to home, do they have bigger followings?

The chart below shows us the relationship between distance to the Canadian border and fanbase size among hockey fans (we’ve identified a few of the teams at either end of the scale by using their logos).

As you might expect given that a number of factors influence fandom (for example, league success, star players, family allegiance), the relationship is not clear cut. But distance looks like it has a role to play too.

The best-supported US teams are among the closest – the top five best-supported teams are all within 400km. And only one of the furthest away teams (the Las Vegas Golden Knights) enjoy support that pushes past 4% of market share –that’s likely to be as a result of the current narrative the team enjoys (for those who don’t follow hockey, the Knights are only a couple of seasons old and have already reached the Stanley Cup finals).

So that’s one example of how you can use Profiles to test a hypothesis or understand an audience segment better. But it’s a versatile tool that allows you to create an almost unlimited number of data slices – which is why we’re now going to dive back into it. Thanks for reading.

BLOG | by Tracy Schoenadel

Senior Vice President & Managing Director of Sports, North America

Tracy is one of the leading authorities in sport marketing and sponsorship research with 25 years of experience in the sponsorship and advertising industry, as well as holding academic positions at University of Massachusetts Amherst, New York University, University of Richmond and University of Connecticut. Tracy was the original managing editor of the publication Sport Marketing Quarterly. She holds a degree in Sport Management.

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