Which sport people in B.C. are more following on the net?

B.C. and Vancouver are widely known as sports-loving regions. The people in B.C. always like to have an active lifestyle as a mean to stay healthy. According to Wikipedia, “Team sports such as ice hockey, lacrosse, and Canadian football have extensive history in the area.” However, I want to conduct an online research about it because we know B.C. is very multi cultural, like many other provinces in Canada, and it would be interesting to see how the spectrum of sports fans looks like.

I started by scanning a long list of sports and then filtered them in three rounds to find out about the winners. The scanning process will get more accurate as we go further. The major tool that used in this research is Google Keyword Planner (GKP) with past 12 months data. I will describe in more detail how I took advantage of GKP in each round.

Round one

In the first round, I didn’t dig very deep. I collected a long list of popular sports in the world and especially in Canada, then found out how many times people search for each sport in B.C. per month. In this round, I only evaluated the exact name of the sport; no long phrases. For example to compare basketball with volleyball, I searched for the average monthly search for the exact phrases, “basketball” and “volleyball”, in B.C. With this simple rule, we are going to find out who the first round winners are. Furthermore, We will leave more detailed searches for the second round; on the winners of this round.

The list includes 78 sport names, some of which are referring to one sport, such as table tennis and ping pong. We let the research show us which sports people search more. While I used Google Keyword Planner to find the result, this tool shows us a range for average monthly searches for each keyword. For example we have 1k – 10k for Football and 100 – 1k for Snooker.

I am going to announce sport names with the range of at least 1k – 10k as winners of the first round. Here is the list of these 49 names (alphabetically ordered):

  • Archery
  • Badminton
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Beach volleyball
  • Bodybuilding
  • Bowling
  • Boxing
  • Canoeing
  • Cricket
  • Curling
  • Dancing
  • Darts
  • Equestrian
  • Equestrianism
  • Fencing
  • Figure skating
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Gymnastic
  • Hiking
  • Hockey
  • Jiu jitsu
  • Karate
  • Kayak
  • Kickboxing
  • Lacrosse
  • Martial Arts
  • Mixed Martial Arts
  • MMA
  • Parkour
  • Rock Climbing
  • Rugby
  • Running
  • Skateboarding
  • Skating
  • Ski
  • Skiing
  • Soccer
  • Squash
  • Swimming
  • Taekwondo
  • Tennis
  • Triathlon
  • UFC
  • Volleyball
  • Wrestling
  • Yoga
  • Zumba

And here is the list of the names with less than 1k – 10k monthly search (alphabetically ordered):

  • Aerobic
  • Athletics
  • Bowls
  • Broomball
  • Climbing
  • cycling
  • diving
  • Dodgeball
  • downhill
  • Frisbee
  • handball
  • Horse Racing
  • Hurdles
  • ice Climbing
  • judo
  • Modern Pentathlon
  • Motorsport
  • netball
  • Pentathlon
  • ping pong
  • Ringette
  • Rowing
  • sailing
  • Snooker
  • Softball
  • Surfing
  • Water polo
  • weightlifting
  • wushu

Round two

In this round, I used Google Keyword Planner to find other related keywords to each of the sports, to avoid missing any major query. The GKP helped me find up to 702 related queries to each of the sports. For example for baseball, some queries like “mlb”, “mlb news” and “baseball teams” came up.

49 names came to this round and these names indicate 43 sports because we have some duplicate names. First issue is sports with two names like “Ski” and “Skiing”, “Equestrian” and “Equestrianism”, “Volleyball” and “Beach Volleyball”. I chose the more general name and removed the other one; because of the research method of round two it won’t affect the results.

Second issue is “MMA”, “UFC”, “Martial Arts” and “Mixed Martial Arts.” I chose MMA as it is more general, and also added some major missing keywords from UFC to the list.

Third issue is soccer. Soccer is so miserable because I cannot distinguish people who search “football” are looking for Soccer or Canadian Football. Same story for “MLS”; are they looking for Major League Soccer or Multiple Listing Service in real estate market? Moreover, removing all phrases that include football and MLS is not fair, because lots of them are really looking for soccer. So I got around the issue by adding some negative keywords to avoid getting phrases related to Canadian Football and real estate. Additionally, I checked phrases one by one to make sure they are all referring to soccer.

Same as the previous round, GKP estimates a range for each group of keywords, and each group of keywords are dedicated to one sport. So, by evaluating the range of monthly searches for all 43 sports, I announce the winners of round two who have at least 10K – 100K. Here are the winners of round two (alphabetically ordered):

  • Archery
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Canadian Football
  • Golf
  • Hockey
  • MMA
  • Soccer
  • Yoga

Round Three – Final Round

In this round, we have 9 sports and we want to dig deeper. These 9 sports achieved 100K – 1M at round two, meaning that GKP estimates monthly searches for the group of 702 related keywords to be between 100K and 1M.

To compare these 9 with each other more accurately, I’ve checked all 702 queries of each one and double checked to see if they are all really well related, and removed unrelated keywords. Now we have a pure list of related keywords to the 9 sports. At this round I manually calculated the summation of all keywords’ monthly searches of each group and did not simply trust the GKP estimate. To do this, I counted the minimum amount of keywords’ searches. For example, in golf’s keyword list there are “golf equipment” with average monthly search of 100 – 1K, so I put 100 for that. Therefore, we will have the minimum possible amount of average monthly searches for sports.

Thus, here is the graph of the most popular sports in B.C.:

Average monthly search for most popular sports in British Columbia


Hockey is the most popular sport in British Columbia

Here you can see the 9 finalists in order:

  1. Hockey
  2. MMA
  3. Basketball
  4. Golf
  5. Canadian Football
  6. Baseball
  7. Soccer
  8. Archery
  9. Yoga