Canadian Sports Team Power Ranking: Which Franchises Are the Most Popular?

Canadian Sports Team Power Ranking: Which Franchises Are the Most Popular? article feature image

Sports are a huge part of life in Canada, with supporters among the most dedicated in North America whether it’s hockey, football, or soccer. And while some teams do compete across the border in America, Canada’s own leagues certainly rival them in terms of competitiveness.

But which sports teams attract the most popularity across Canada? We’ve analyzed Google search information, social media data, and online sentiment to rank the top-20 Canadian franchises in terms of popularity.

Toronto teams take the top spots

Taking the crown as Canada’s most popular sports team, the Toronto Raptors come away with an index score of 8.45. The Raptors joined the NBA in 1995 as part of the league’s expansion and won their first championship title in 2019.

Running a close second with an index score of 7.28, we have the Toronto Blue Jays of MLB, who hold two World Series titles earned back-to-back between 1992-1993. Interestingly, both the Raptors and Jays are the only representatives of their respective sports, as this list compiled above is dominated by football and hockey.

On the topic of hockey, 13-time Stanley Cup champions, the Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL, are considered the third-most popular sports team in Canada, with an index score of 5.53.

Six NHL franchises feature in the top-10

Following the lead set by the Toronto Maple Leafs, we have a further five NHL franchises featured in the top-10 most popular Canadian sports teams.

Placing highly, the Montreal Canadiens come away with an overall index score of 3.59, which is hardly surprising considering they have a record-holding 24 Stanley Cups to their name. Other hockey teams to earn a place among the top-10 most influential franchises include the Vancouver Canucks (2.69), Edmonton Oilers (2.47), Winnipeg Jets (1.90), and Ottawa Senators (1.87). Meanwhile, just missing out on top-10 glory, the Calgary Flames rank 11th overall with an index score of 1.66.

Almost half of the top-20 teams are CFL franchises

While hockey might dominate the top-10, football is the main contributor when extended to the top-20; with eight CFL teams, this represents almost half of the overall list.

Coming away as the top-rated football team and also incidentally the highest-ranked team to play in a Canadian-based league, we have the Winnipeg Blue Bombers with a popularity score of 3.14. The Bombers last won the Grey Cup in 2019 and hold the record for most championship appearances (25).

Not far behind we have the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts (2.02), who have won more Grey Cups than any other competing team (17). Next up, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats also rank highly with a popularity rating of 1.62, even if they do have the longest Grey Cup drought in the entire CFL. Meanwhile, the Saskatchewan Roughriders (1.60) are the fourth-most popular football team, despite being based in the smallest major league market in Canada.

Rounding off the CFL teams, we have the Vancouver-based BC Lions (1.60), the 14-time Grey Cup winners Edmonton Elks (1.00), the Montreal Alouettes (0.89), and the 2018 Grey Cup champions Calgary Stampeders (0.83).

There’s space for soccer among the top-20

Completing the top-20 most popular sports teams in Canada, we have three franchises that compete in Major League Soccer. The highest-ranking soccer team, the Vancouver Whitecaps, pick up an index total of 1.08, while CF Montreal, who were founded just 11 years ago, earn a score of 0.86.

Finally, Toronto FC is the 20th team on our index with an overall score of 0.73. While they might be the lowest-ranking MLS team by popularity, Toronto FC is the most successful on the soccer field. In fact, they’re the only Canadian team to feature in an MLS Cup final, a feat they’ve achieved three times – winning once.

Methodology

To determine the most popular sports teams in Canada, we considered Google search volumes, Instagram engagements, Twitter engagements, and online sentiment for each franchise. Google search volume for each team was recorded for over the last 12 months, and each franchise’s total was ranked and given a relative index score between 0-1.

Four Twitter metrics were analyzed (number of followers, retweets, favorites, and engagement rate) for each team, and franchises were ranked and given a relative index score between 0-1 for each (giving a total Twitter score 0-4).

Similarly, four Instagram metrics were analyzed (number of followers, average likes, average comments, and engagement rate). As previous, franchises were ranked and given a relative index score between 0-1 for each (giving a total Instagram score 0-4).

Finally, using social listening tool Linkfluence, we were able to collect online sentiment data for each team. Each franchise was ranked on positive sentiment and assigned a relative index score between 0-1. All index scores were finally combined to give a total rating between 0-10 for each analyzed Canadian sports team.

Discover even more expert insight into the world of Canadian sports, or explore the latest odds and picks for your favorite teams.

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