Canada’s only NBA team is now two wins away from capturing its first-ever championship — and a new study says almost half the country is watching.
A study from the Angus Reid Institute published Thursday shows that a full 40 per cent of Canadians are paying attention to the team’s electric playoff run.
That includes everyone from ambivalent Montrealers to Calgarians willing to hop on a plane to catch a game.
That’s a major jump from the one in ten Canadians who traditionally follow the NBA, wrote Angus Reid in a release.
Also on the up is Canadian confidence in the team’s chances against the dynastic Golden State Warriors, who have won two straight NBA titles and three of the last four.
Among those following the finals — in which the Raptors took a 2-1 lead on Wednesday night — nearly 60 per cent say the team has a 50/50 chance of winning.
18 per cent, meanwhile, say they expect the Raptors to come out on top.
Are we all the North?
While Canadian interest in the Raptors is undeniable, Canadians are split on the question of who the team’s victories belong to at the end of the day: Toronto alone, or the entire country?
47 per cent of Canadians polled say that the Raptors are, in fact, Canada’s team, while 45 per cent say they are Toronto’s team.
Angus Reed even asked about Drake, known for courtside antics so extreme the NBA called the Raptors last week to get him to tone it down.
Only six per cent of respondents believe that the rapper brings bad luck (known as the “Drake Curse”) compared to 26 per cent who say he actually brings good luck.
43 per cent say that, despite the back rubs and pep talks, Drake’s presence isn’t having an impact either way.
The Angus Reid study also found that even if the Raptors ultimately lose to Golden State, most Canadians following the team are already satisfied.
Three-quarters of respondents said that it’s enough for the Raptors to have made the finals for the first time in franchise history.
We’ll see how Drake feels about that.