Canada’s Most-Loved NFL Teams

Sports

While Canada has its own football league, there’s no denying that the big money of the NFL holds a certain appeal. Millions of Canadians tune in to watch the teams clash week-on-week, but who are they rooting for? The most popular NFL teams in Canada might surprise you!

NFL viewership in Canada has had a rollercoaster few years. While Canadians seemed to fall away from the sport between 2016 and 2020 as evidenced by a steady decline, 2020 saw viewership grow by nearly double digit percentages week-on-week. In some regions – like the prairies – the NFL has a higher viewership than the CFL. 

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Canadian players like Chase Claypool and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif have also increased the visibility of the league. The NFL has made notable efforts to create a foothold in Canada too, hosting regular season and preseason games in Toronto in order to entice a wider viewership. Nevertheless, the Canadian response to the NFL is decidedly mixed. So, which team does each province support? Read on to find out. 

canada map most popular nfl teams by province

Most popular teams in each Canadian province/ & territory.

Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, and Labrador – New England Patriots

When it comes to NFL betting, the New England Patriots are often cited as America’s most bet on team. In a 2013 study, they were also found to be Canada’s most popular team overall, having been supported by just over 12% of the surveyed fans. 

It shouldn’t be a surprise, therefore, that the Pats come out on top in four of Canada’s nine provinces. According to merchandise sales, the Boston-based franchise also top the rankings in terms of jerseys sold in Canada. 

Overall, the Patriots are widely considered ‘Canada’s team’, but Nova Scotia and Boston also have a close history beyond sports — Boston sent relief to the Atlantic province following the 1917 Halifax Explosion, and the province still sends Boston a Christmas tree to every year to show their appreciation.

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Ontario – Buffalo Bills

A Buffalo Bills player carries the football

The Buffalo Bills have strong support in Ontario. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

While the Patriots are also popular in Ontario, the Bills’ hold on the province is undeniable. It has been suggested that the Buffalo Bills lost a portion of their Ontario following their post-1990’s decline. This is likely true non-US fans are less loyal and more likely to jump ship to teams with ongoing success. Nevertheless, the Canadian Golden Horseshoe which wraps Lake Ontario provides about 10,000 traveling fans for each Bills game. 

Ontario also has a notable number of Steelers, Packers, and Cowboys fans. The Detroit Lions also have a strong following in the nearby southern region. 

Quebec – New York Giants

The link between Quebec and America’s capital city spans almost 400 years of trading and diplomacy. The first international bond issued on Wall Street in 1878 was, you guessed it, a Quebec bond.  The Big Apple has bought electricity from Quebec for well over 100 years. More than 4,500 Quebec-based businesses trade with New York on a daily basis. In fact, New York is the number one customer worldwide buying up Quebec’s goods and services. For that reason, the New York Giants reign supreme in the region. 

Manitoba – Minnesota Vikings

Readers of The Sun in Manitoba were polled on their favorite NFL team, with the Minnesota Vikings taking nearly 40% of the vote.

One of the reasons more fans are in Manotiba could be attributed to how close the borders of this state and province are, but it could also be attributed to the fact that coach Bud Grant once coached the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Manitoba’s CFL team.

Saskatchewan – Green Bay Packers

There are two key factors in determining which NFL teams are popular in Canada: proximity and success. Saskatchewan is bordered by North Dakota and Montana – two states without teams of their own. For that reason, most Saskatchewan fans choose to support either the Vikings or the Packers. In most areas, Green Bay’s recent success has swayed the majority.

A Green Bay Packers player runs with the football

The Green Bay Packers have gained support across Canada because of their ongoing success. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)

Alberta – Minnesota Vikings

Saskatchewan’s neighbouring province is similarly split, with Green Bay, Minnesota and Seattle dividing the fanbase. Alberta’s affinity for the Vikings comes down to TV scheduling – for many years, the Vikings games were the most easily accessible on mainstream Canadian TV in the region. Notably, Alberta fans enjoyed placing sports bets on the Minnesota team which helped their popularity grow. 

British Columbia – Seattle Seahawks

In BC, proximity wins out. The Seattle Seahawks are without a doubt the province’s most popular team, helped in large part by their eight playoff appearances over the last decade. That’s not to say everyone is a big fan though – the rivalry between Vancouver and Seattle means that some NFL enthusiasts prefer to take their sporting enthusiasm elsewhere. You’ll find sizeable support for the Niners, the Rams, and the Raiders in the region.

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