Ipsos Reid

Ipsos Reid

July 08, 2009 06:01 ET

UFC Tops List of Sports Gaining Momentum in Canada

Attention: Business/Financial Editor, News Editor TORONTO/ON/PRESS RELEASE--(Marketwire - July 8, 2009) - A recent study of the sports market in Canada found that two in ten Canadian adults (22%) are interested in the UFC, saying they are casual (16%) or avid (6%) fans of the sport. While the number of UFC fans is currently behind some mainstream sports, like Major League Baseball (38% of Canadian adults are fans), the UFC is gaining momentum and might soon approach the fan base of other sports such as NBA Basketball (26% of Canadian adults are fans). In fact, in terms of increasing interest among current fans, the UFC is ahead of all other sports surveyed.

The results are taken from Ipsos-Reid's Canadian Sports Monitor, which interviewed 2,000 Canadian adults in a comprehensive survey of the Canadian sports market.

The majority (73%) of UFC fans consider themselves to be "casual fans" - interested in occasional 'big events' - but many of them (39%) say their interest has increased in the past few years. The proportion of fans who are gaining interest is higher for the UFC than more than 30 other sports and sporting events surveyed, including Hockey and the Olympics.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the UFC is more appealing to younger Canadians, as well as males - roughly one-in-three Canadian males say they are at least casual fans of the sport. While the sport has fewer female followers, the UFC has made strides across both genders and interest is growing equally among men and women fans (among current fans of the UFC, 40% of men stated their level of interest increased, while 38% of women said the same).

The UFC leads a pack of sports and sporting events gaining interest among current fans. Other sports at the top of that list include:

Poker - 34% of fans are more interested than before
North American Soccer - 27% of fans are more interested than before
FIFA World Cup Soccer - 27% of fans are more interested than before

The above findings suggest that the sports landscape in Canada may be undergoing a shift, with several emerging sports and sporting events gaining interest, if not yet mainstream.

Sports that appear to be losing interest include:

Professional Wrestling - 36% of fans are less interested than before
Formula One Racing - 30% of fans are less interested than before
Boxing - 23% of fans are less interested than before

These are the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted as part of Ipsos' Canadian Sports Monitor study. The poll was conducted from May 20 to May 29, 2009. This online survey of 2,000 Canadian adults was conducted via the Ipsos I-Say Online Panel, Ipsos Reid's national online panel. The results are based on a sample where quota sampling and weighting are employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to Census data. Quota samples with weighting from the Ipsos online panel provide results that are intended to approximate a probability sample. An unweighted probability sample of this size, with a 100% response rate, would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. IN: ECONOMY, FINANCE, RETAIL

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