11. Involvement in amateur sport as spectators almost doubled in 13 years

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The number of adult Canadians watching amateur sport reached 9.2 million in 2005. That was 20.3% higher than reported in 1998. In 1992, only 5 million Canadians were involved in amateur sport as spectators.

Young adults under 25 years of age had the highest rate of participation as spectators at 43%. In comparison, the rate was 33% for those aged 25 to 34 and 39% for the 35 to 54 year olds. Though in last place at 27%, the rate of involvement of older Canadians aged 55 and over was 7 percentage points higher than in 1998.

Spectators are more likely to be well educated and their numbers tend to increase with their level of income. In 2005, the rate of involvement as spectators hovered around 40% for Canadians with a postsecondary school diploma or higher. Canadians with less education, such as some secondary school or less, recorded a much lower rate of 28%. Participation in sporting events as spectaters varied sharply with the level of household income. For those earning $80,000 or more, participation was 48%. That was more than twice the rate (22%) for those with household incomes of less than $20,000.

Chart 20
Participation in amateur sport as spectators by household income and by sex, 2005

Provincially, Prince Edward Island led the nation in spectatorship of amateur sport. Almost half of Prince Edward Island residents were spectators of amateur sport in 2005, followed by Nova Scotia (45%), Saskatchewan (44%), Manitoba (42%) and Alberta (41%). In Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia, only a third of residents were involved as spectators in amateur sport.

Table 15
Canadians (15 years and older) who participated in amateur sport as spectators, 2005