Home NASL & USL FC Edmonton Is Sunday the worst sports day of the week? A fascinating Edmonton study

Is Sunday the worst sports day of the week? A fascinating Edmonton study


Major League Soccer plays some of its games on Sunday afternoons and evenings. FC Edmonton of the NASL plays all of its home games on Sunday afternoons.

But is Sunday a day that we, as in Canadians, actually want to watch sports? Or is it a day that we’d like to get away from the sporting universe? Even the most ardent fan reaches a critical mass, where he or she says “enough” and needs to do something else than follow scores and trades and watch game after game. You need to spend time with the kids, go to the lake, just get outside, talk to real people.

In the course of my editing duties at Avenue Edmonton, members of the Edmonton Eskimos brass — our city’s Canadian Football League team — sat down with me to go over an intense survey that they and Banister Research Consulting Inc. conducted. One of the key questions was: On what day do you prefer to watch Eskimos games? (You can find that full article HERE, BTW). The results were fascinating.

43 per cent said their first choice was Friday nights.
41 per cent said their first choice was Saturdays.
And — get this — only seven per cent said they’d most prefer to watch football on Sundays.

Now, understand that this isn’t a soccer survey; it’s not a national survey. It’s a survey of Edmontonians — commissioned by a CFL team. But you have to wonder if those numbers would hold steady on a cross-Canada level and if it’s true of all sports.

FC Edmonton plays almost all of its home games on Sunday afternoons.

If the numbers do bear out — it’s a sign of just how different the preferences of Canadians are than Americans. The concept of super-NFL-Sundays comes from our American friends — and it permeates our culture. There’s no denying it. But, what if there is a lesson here for Canadian sports teams — including NASL and MLS sides? That, for the best possible gates, kick off your games on Friday nights?

Now, for those of you who read our companion magazine, Plastic Pitch, you may recall that in our Fall Issue (Issue 3), John Molinaro wrote about how he believes that MLS moving games — especially post-season games and even MLS Cup — to Friday nights would be good for the league. This survey gives more food for thought.

It needs to be said that sports scheduling isn’t always about the best nights to get fans’ bums in seats. A lot of it has to do with television. In a place where hockey rules the universe on Saturday nights in ever month but July, August and September, it means the other teams need to slot games in ways that can still get them exposure. For Edmonton, Sunday afternoons is optimal for local TV. The study should just be food for thought — but you wonder if FCE played Friday nights at 7 p.m. local, if the Eddies wouldn’t help their attendance numbers.

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  1. Marcus

    January 29, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    I would love to see games on Friday and Saturday nights and I am not a fan of Sunday afternoons at all. Having games played at night under the stadium lights is so much better than in the afternoon sun.
    But it’s not just for the game but also for the post-party, no one is going out to drink and celebrate if we have to be back at work the next day.

  2. Adam

    January 29, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    This is now my second year as an FCE season ticket holder, the main reason that I bought season tickets last year was because there were some fall Saturday night games. I underestimated how cold the evenings get but I renewed because it was always a great time out! I know, I for one, would love to have games on Friday or Saturday too, but a guy can dream too.

  3. Cristian Tane

    January 29, 2015 at 3:53 am

    A CFL survey asking people if they want CFL football on Sundays (when it’s clashing with NFL football) is entirely irrelevant for soccer.

    • Steven Sandor

      January 29, 2015 at 4:57 am

      Fair point, but CFL preseason begins in June. Regular season runs through June, July, August — a full three months before the NFL regular season kicks off. CFL season finishes close to when Americans are having their November Thanksgiving games. There is a partial overlap.

  4. Soccerfan

    January 29, 2015 at 2:25 am

    How about people in Edmonton are just not that generally interested in semi professional soccer? It is not a bad thing, it is the same reason that hockey could not survive in Atlanta. Their interests are more centred on college and professional football. Hockey rules everything, it is the first, second and third choice for people in Edmonton. Sports is a very regional thing across North America. It ain’t the day of the week.

  5. Scott Bennett

    January 28, 2015 at 10:42 pm

    Odds are, your fan base consists of a healthy percentage of people invested in the sport on a number of levels. In that case, Sunday is game day for your kids, making it very difficult for you to pay to attend a pro game.

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