Giving Montreal Canadiens fans even more ammunition in the never-ending battle for bragging rights between the two fan-bases, the bleu blanc et rouge have topped the Toronto Maple Leafs in a new poll ranking Canada’s leading sports brands.
The Sports Brand Equity Index is based on an online survey of 2,700 sports fans in nine cities (Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal) conducted by Saskatoon-based Insightrix Research between April 21 and May 6.
The rival NHL franchises finished 1-2 in the survey, ahead of the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders and Toronto Blue Jays. NHL franchises occupied six of the top 10 spots, with the Toronto Raptors (#5) and Montreal Alouettes (#10) rounding out the list.
The survey ranks franchises on five weighted metrics: First team that comes to mind, respect for the team, perceptions of the most loyal fans, team popularity and stadium/arena atmosphere.
Mario Caceres, a senior researcher with Insightrix, said the Leafs’ ranking is clear proof that winning is not the only determinant when it comes to ranking sports brands. “It’s amazing to see a team that has not won anything in such a long time come in second across Canada,” he said. “Winning helps, but it’s not the only factor a team’s brand should focus on.”
Insightrix called the Roughriders a “branding phenomenon worth noting,” as the CFL franchise ranked third overall despite hailing from a province that accounts for just 3% of the Canadian population.
The study also tested 21 major sponsors of Canadian teams to get a sense of how they are perceived by fan-bases across the country. In addition to questions about the brands’ reputation, fans were also asked to link sponsors to teams.
Tim Hortons, Canadian Tire and TD Canada Trust were the top three sports sponsor brands in the country, while other brands included Rogers, Scotiabank, Adidas, Bell and BMO.
When asked which brands they are most loyal to, 19.9% of respondents selected Tim Hortons, followed by 10.8% for TD Canada Trust and 9.01% for Canadian Tire. Tim Hortons was also the leading vote-getter in questions about brand reputation, value for price and brand likeability.