Canadians OK with empty sports arenas, wary of attending games: poll

The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER — Canadian sports fans are itching to watch sports again, but many would think twice about attending a game, according to a poll.

An Angus Reid online survey conducted May 1-4 asked a randomized sample of 1,527 Canadians how they felt about sports during the COVID-19 pandemic.

They were queried about how they felt about games played in empty stadium and arenas, would they attend a game for free without reservation and which sports they missed the most.

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One in three indicated playing games in empty venues would be "great", while over half said "it's better than nothing," according to the pollster.

But while 35 per cent said they wouldn't hesitate to attend a game in October and November if entry was free, two in five respondents said they would deliberate before making up their mind and one quarter refused outright.

The Canadians surveyed yearned for the NHL more than any other pro sports league, with 59 per cent missing hockey compared baseball (31) and basketball (28).

The NHL would have been well into the playoffs when the poll was conducted.

The potential cancellation of the Canadian Football League and National Football League seasons because of the pandemic was a disappointing prospect for 33 per cent asked in both cases.

The dismay over a possible 2020 without the CFL increased in the prairie provinces where three in five said they would be upset.

The poll reflected a generation gap when it came to golf as those over the age of 55 were twice as likely to say they miss the PGA than those aged 18 to 34.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 7, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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