Infographic: How our sports-watching habits have (and haven’t) changed

We asked Canadians what sports they watched most growing up.

What sport did you watch most often growing up? And what sport do you watch most often today? We asked Canadians both of these questions as part of our survey of over 1,500 people from coast to coast.

Spoiler alert: Hockey was a popular answer to both questions.

As you would expect, nearly half of those surveyed said hockey was the sport they watched most often when they were young. But even as sports-watching options have ballooned in recent years — more available sports, more leagues, more channels, more ways to watch — hockey remains by far the most popular answer in terms of current preferences.

This post is part of The Canada Project, a representative survey of Canadians from across the country.

But, really, that just confirms what we already knew. We looked into the survey results for what else we could learn. To get things started, here’s the overview:

As mentioned above, hockey dominated the answers. Forty-eight percent of respondents said they watched hockey most growing up, and 40 per cent said they watch it most now.

The second-most popular answer as far as what people viewed most growing up sticks close to Canada’s connection to the ice: One in 10 answered figure skating.

Though, this is perhaps where we start to notice the effect of expanded sports offerings. Just six per cent said they still watch figure skating most today.

Meanwhile, more respondents said they watch football and golf most today than respondents who said the same thing about their viewing habits when growing up.

Now let’s break current watching habits down by generation:

Hey, look at that — hockey is first among all four generations. Beyond that, though, we get some interesting results.

Among those born before 1945, figure skating dominates. At 17 per cent, more than twice the amount of respondents chose that as the third-most popular sport (football, at eight per cent).

Meanwhile, only two per cent of millennials chose figure skating as their favourite. Instead, they’re watching more soccer (12 per cent of respondents said it was their most-watched sport), baseball (nine per cent), basketball (six per cent) and cricket (one per cent) than any other generation, providing a good-news story for those sports going forward.

What if we break the numbers down by region? Can any individual category break hockey’s streak? As it turns out, yes, one:

Football! For almost a third of respondents!

Sure, Saskatchewan is the home of Gordie Howe and Hayley Wickenheiser, among many others, and Manitoba hockey fans were passionate enough about the sport to bring back the Jets after their original team fled for Arizona, but football in all its forms — CFL, NFL, even the six-man variety — is still king in the region.