Survey says the Canadiens are the strongest sports brand in Canada

The Montreal Canadiens celebrate their victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs
Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

By David Rogers

Which sports team has the strongest brand in Canada? If you said the Toronto Maple Leafs you’re not only wrong, but you also clearly didn’t read the title of this article. According to a recent survey by Insightrix Research, the Montreal Canadiens lead the way when it comes to brand recognition, brand perception and popularity. The Maple Leafs finished in the second spot, the Saskatchewan Roughriders third and the Toronto Blue Jays were fourth.

Via TSN, the poll surveyed 2,700 Canadian sports fans (300 each in nine different cities) and were asked which team comes to mind first, how much respect do you have for the team, what’s the perception of the most loyal fans, team popularity and stadium/arena atmosphere. Each of these attributes were weighted accordingly based on the team’s equity.

Here’s the top-10 brands:

1. Montreal Canadiens
2. Toronto Maple Leafs
3. Saskatchewan Roughriders
4. Toronto Blue Jays
5. Toronto Raptors
6. Winnipeg Jets
7. Vancouver Canucks
8. Calgary Flames
9. Ottawa Senators
10. Montreal Alouettes

You’ll notice that six NHL teams are inside the top-10 list. You’ll also notice that one NHL team is missing – the Edmonton Oilers. It’ll be interesting to see if Edmonton moves into the top-10 once they have a couple years of solid Connor McDavid marketing under their belt.

It’s also fascinating to see how well the Maple Leafs continue to rank despite their recent woes. Winning is usually the formula needed to improve and grow a brand (just ask the Oilers), but the Maple Leafs continue to defy logic and maintain a brand which is arguably deserving of the top spot on this list. Tickets in Toronto remain obscenely priced even though the team struggles on the ice and has once again disappointed their fans.

Insightrix Research should revisit this survey in a few years and see if there’s any measurable differences. The Maple Leafs are pushing forward with some big changes (Mike Babcock in, Phil Kessel out) and the Oilers are about to enjoy the McDavid era. Will these lead to tangible changes in these teams’ brands?


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