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Old 05-01-2014, 05:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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How Basketball Overtook Hockey As The Most Popular Youth Sport In Canada - Forbes

Today, the growth rate of basketball participation in Canada among the country’s youth exceeds that of hockey and soccer. Since 2010, basketball participation has seen a growth rate of 16 percent. A 2010 study found that basketball is the most popular team participation sport in Canada among youth between the ages of 12 and 17. Additionally, 29 percent of all households in Canada have a household member who participates in basketball. Part of the reason for the sport’s growing participation in Canada in the face of soccer and hockey is its accessibility. ”Basketball is a sport that is easy and inexpensive to play, and a safe sport. There are a plethora of opportunities to play basketball in Canada. Over the last 20-years, organized basketball has become more relevant in Canada,” MacKenzie noted.

Relaxed immigration laws and increased participation opportunities paved the way for basketball to overtake hockey as the most popular sport among Canadian youth. However, the entry of the NBA into the country pushed the sport’s popularity in Canada over the edge. In 1995-96, the NBA strategically placed teams in two of Canada’s most-populous cities, with the Grizzlies taking up home in Vancouver and the Raptors heading to Toronto.

The locating of these teams to Canada provided the nation not only with teams to get behind, but the country’s young men with the ability to grow up watching players they would strive to emulate. ”What you are seeing now with the growth of the sport, is the first generation of kids who have grown up with the NBA being a strong element in their lives. A lot of the growth is related to the increased number of NBA games these children have seen on television. Previously, there might have only been one NBA game on television in Canada per week. Now, they can get up to 300 games per year on their televisions in Canada. With the advent of teams in Canada, it’s a lot easier for Canadians to experience the NBA in a way that they couldn’t have 20-years ago,” MacKenzie explained.

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