Saskatoon, Sask. (Aug. 6, 2014) – Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey League (NHL) have the strongest brand among professional sports teams in the country, concludes an opinion survey with Canadian sports fans released today by Insightrix Research Inc.

Toronto Maple Leafs, also of the NHL, ranked second, Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League (CFL) was third and Toronto Blue Jays, Canada’s lone team in Major League Baseball (MLB) was fourth.

Insightrix, an internationally-recognized research firm based in Saskatoon, conducted the survey in collaboration with the Phoenix Group, a Regina-based advertising and branding agency.

“A total of 2,676 randomly-selected sports fans were polled online May 8-26 in nine Canadian metro areas that are home to professional sports franchises,” explained Mario Caceres, senior research executive with Insightrix.

“Results were weighted to accurately represent the population in each metro area as a percentage of the national population and by the proportion of followers of each sports league in those areas.”

Metro areas surveyed were: Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton, Montreal, Ottawa, Regina, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg. Because the research was conducted online, he said it is considered to be a non-probability proportion sample and therefore, margins of error are not applicable.

Sports fans from the nine metro areas that are home to professional sports franchises were asked a series of questions to better understand their perception of NHL, CFL and MLB as well as the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Major League Soccer (MLS) team brands in Canada.

Five key brand metrics were measured including first brand that comes to mind, their level of respect for team brands as well as their perception of the most loyal fans, team popularity and stadium atmosphere, Caceres said.

“The top four brand rankings were developed using a statistically-valid combination of the team’s rankings in each of the categories surveyed,” he said.

The most respected team is the Canadiens, followed by the Roughriders, Blue Jays and Alouettes. When it comes to popularity, fans perceive the Montreal Canadiens to be the most popular, followed by the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Alouettes.

The Canadiens edge out the Roughriders as the team perceived to have the most loyal fans.

Across all leagues the Montreal Canadiens have the strongest brand nationally followed by the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Toronto Blue Jays.

The top ten brands across all sports include three NHL teams, four CFL teams, one team each from the NBA, MLB and MLS.

The research reveals that individual NHL brands are very strong, but mostly in their local or regional markets. CFL brands also consistently show strength in local markets, however CFL teams enjoy greater out of market brand affinity. Toronto and Montreal-based team rankings across all sports benefitted from the larger population base in their local areas.

Following is a snap shot of the survey results. Results reflect the proportion of the national population selecting that team as top for that question.

Most Respected

1)Montreal Canadiens – 22.6%
2)Saskatchewan Roughriders – 12.2%
3)Toronto Blue Jays – 9.1%
4)Montreal Alouettes – 7.5%

Perception of Popularity
1)Montreal Canadiens – 20.8%
2)Saskatchewan Roughriders – 16.5%
3)Toronto Maple Leafs – 15.0%
4)Montreal Alouettes – 7.2%

Perception Most Loyal Fans
1)Montreal Canadiens – 22.5%
2)Saskatchewan Roughriders – 22.1%
3)Toronto Maple Leafs – 19.9%
4)Toronto Raptors – 6.7%

Perception of Best Stadium/Arena Atmosphere
1)Montreal Canadiens – 24.4%
2)Saskatchewan Roughriders – 16.2%
3)Toronto Maple Leafs – 10.5%
4)Toronto Raptors (Tie) – 6.9%
4)Montreal Alouettes (Tie) – 6.9%

First Brand that Comes to Mind
1)Toronto Blue Jays – 19.2%
2)Montreal Canadiens – 18.5%
3)Toronto Maple Leafs – 14.8%
4)Toronto Raptors – 12.3%

Canadian Professional Sports Brand Ranking (Based on combined weighted results)
First: Montreal Canadiens
Second: Toronto Maple Leafs
Third: Saskatchewan Roughriders
Fourth: Toronto Blue Jays

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About Insightrix Research
Insightrix Research Inc. (Insightrix.com), established in 2001 and based in Saskatoon, is a full-service market research firm that uses a range of qualitative and quantitative market research techniques to provide effective, innovative solutions. Insightrix has achieved the Gold Seal certification from the Marketing Research Intelligence Association (MRIA), the country’s market research association.

About the Phoenix Group

Phoenix Group (www.thephoenixgroup.ca), established in 1982, is an employee owned, Saskatchewan based advertising and branding agency. They are a full service communications firm serving clients across Western Canada. Phoenix Group’s subsidiary, Oh! Media (www.Ohmedia.ca) serves clients across Canada and is fully integrated into the agency. Phoenix Group has been the Saskatchewan Roughriders Agency of Record since 1997.

For more information contact:

Mario Caceres
Senior Research Executive
Insightrix Research Inc.
+1.306.657.5640 Ext. 258
mario.caceres@insightrix.com

Darren Mitchell
VP Strategic Development
Phoenix Group
+1.306.585.9500
dmitchell@thephoenixgroup.ca