The ‘Poker Stars Spring Championship of Online Poker’ (SCOOP) has recently concluded. In total the Pokerstars.com series of tournaments awarded in excess of $81m (USD) in prize-money.
Headlining the cast were players from Canada who landed 18 of the 145 tournaments in the series. By wins it made Canada the most successful country numerically and netted winnings of over $10.4 million in the process.
Such is the clandestine nature of online poker there is no clear indication as to what percentage of the 6,999 individual Canadian-based players who claimed a cash prize during the series were Canadian nationals. Nevertheless, it is very clear Canada has a lot of very good poker players within its bounds. Canadian poker players can practice at online casinos dedicated to Canada, such as CasinoMidas.ca and have fun for a change in luck-based games like slots, craps and roulette.
But the question has to be asked, in what other globally recognised sports does Canada play a leading role on the world stage?
This summer’s FIFA World Cup (soccer) will be the world’s biggest viewed sporting event but Canada will not be there. The last time the country qualified for the final stages of the competition was 1986. The national team is currently ranked 110th in the world. Immediately above them is a ‘who’s who of countries you have never heard of’ including Benin, Togo, Gabon, Burkina Faso, Mali and the Cape Verde Islands.
In the popularity stakes the Olympic games follow and, once again, Canada is failing to impress. London 2012 produced just one gold medal and it is 38 years since Montreal hosted the summer Olympics.
In 2011 Canada took part in the Cricket World Cup where matches enjoyed viewership in the hundreds of millions. But with Canada losing its Twenty20 and One Day International status at the start of this year, the world’s TV screens are unlikely to see the Canadian national team on them anytime this side of 2016.
Thankfully Formula 1 does make a visit to Montreal in June and that gives a global viewing audience approaching 100 million an opportunity to see the great city (if not a Canadian driver). I’m loathed to point out that the city’s current contract with Formula 1’s management expires this year.
What’s left? NFL? Football is not a globally viewed or a globally embraced participation sport, neither is other American favourites, Baseball and Basketball. Furthermore, despite Canada’s diverse population, the country is desperate to express its individualism, and mighty keen to show the world that North America’s biggest country is not American.
That’s symbolised by Canada playing no part in golf’s Ryder Cup. …if only the War of 1812 had of panned out differently!
Hockey, Canada’s sport, remains the primary pastime and the country has enjoyed its most international success with it. You would still need an abacus to identify when a Canadian team last lifted the Stanley Cup however.
All-in-all it’s a sad parade of events. Sport, in this modern era, offers immeasurable value to a countries economy starting with tourism. Restricting sporting activities to those of a traditional native nature certainly curbs its worth.
Sport can do more than simply help its countries balance of payments too, it can generate domestic commerce. A prime example of this is the massive surge in bicycle sales in the UK following a Tour de France victory and eight Olympic cycling gold medals in 2012. In the immediate aftermath of this success a thirty percent increase in bicycle sales was reported. That benefited both business and the environment no end.
Apart from the $10 million online poker players have brought to the party this May, international sports and pastimes have little to cheer for when it comes to modern day commerce in Canada.