Are Canadian sports fans uniting behind the Toronto Raptors for their second round NBA postseason series against the Cleveland Cavaliers? Are they putting aside NHL rivalries to support the Winnipeg Jets, the only Canadian team remaining in the Stanley Cup playoffs?
According to data from Google and Twitter, the answer on both counts is no. Instead, it’s the Toronto Blue Jays that have piqued the curiosity of most Canadian sports fans.
In the past 30 days the Raptors have had the most searches on Google, the internet’s most popular search engine. But the Toronto-based team had the majority of those searches coming from Ontario. Similarly, fans searching for information on the Jets have been predominantly based in Manitoba and Nunavut.
The Blue Jays, who started their season on March 29 and got off to a hot start in the American League East, have had fewer searches in total than the Raptors but draw on a broader geographic base. The Jays — currently third in the division with a 18-14 record — are the most-searched team in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon.
Stats from Twitter back that up. Although the Raptors were the most tweeted about sports team in Canada between April 1 and May 2, 86 percent were from users in Ontario. Alberta accounted for 4 percent, British Columbia 3 percent and the rest of the country accounted for 7 percent.
The Jets garnered broader interest across Canada than the Raptors on Twitter, with 57 percent of tweets emanating from Manitoba, 22 percent from Ontario, 11 percent from Alberta and 5 percent from B.C. But in terms of cumulative numbers, the Maple Leafs and Blue Jays had more people tweeting than Winnipeg’s NHL team.
It’s also worth noting that just because someone tweets about a team or searches for them online, it doesn’t mean they’re supporting them.
Despite a disappointing first-round exit from the NHL playoffs at the hands of the Boston Bruins, the Maple Leafs still had Canadians talking in the past month. Between the Raptors, the Jets, and the Blue Jays, the Maple Leafs were still the most Googled team in New Brunswick as well as Newfoundland and Labrador since April 1.
They were also the most tweeted about team in Canada during that span, although 83 percent of those tweets came from users in Ontario, 4 percent from Alberta, 3 percent from B.C. and 10 percent from the other provinces and territories.
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