Thursday, February 21, 2008

Here's something surprising: in the United States, the NHL has more fans than NBA. Well, that's not exactly true. It's more accurate to say that more sports fans rate hockey (5%) as their favourite sport as compared to the NBA (4%). Odds are that more people watch the NBA than the NHL in the US, but few would rate it as their favourite sport. Still, it says something about the NBA that it's outranked by the NFL, MLB, NCAA football, NASCAR and the NHL. Perhaps most surprising of all is that 10% of people rated NASCAR as their favourite "sport", which is both the greatest blight on America today and the greatest achievement of marketing. Track and field was on the third tier of minor sports, receiving 1% of the vote, right up there with tennis and boxing.

In somewhat related news, I went to my first NHL game last night, watching the Ottawa Senators beat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 in a shootout (sorry Chris). Watching hockey on television is like trying to perform open-heart surgery on a rollercoaster, but hockey in person is surprisingly riveting. The speed of the puck and the players doesn't quite make translate onto a television screen, though the decapitating hits are the same. The other benefit of watching in person might just be my inability to follow rapidly-moving objects on a screen, but I found it much easier to watch plays develop on the ice.

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