Saturday, December 11, 2010

GSP vs Gretzky?

I posted a message on Twitter the other day stating that I feel UFC President Dana White has somewhat of a leg to stand on when he says that George St. Pierre is the most famous athlete to ever come out of Canada.

He may have an argument. It's all about context and perspective when it comes to debates like this.

All the time you hear statements like this. Just flip on your local radio station and you will hear something like this:

"We are Saskatoon's #1 rock station!" Um... yes that is true because you are Saskatoon's ONLY rock station.

Everybody is #1 in some capacity. "My blog is the #1 blog on the web..... that my mom reads."

With that being said, Dana White's statements are pretty wide open and leave a lot of room for criticism. I honestly don't know if he's right or not. This piece will have a lot of holes in it and everyone will have their opinion and that's great but there's more to the story then simply that he's out to lunch. (PS> just saw that the MacBook has 7 minutes of battery life left so I'll type fast)

How about this:

-More than 4.7 million viewers tuned in to see UFC 75, the first ever title bout on Spike TV. On a Saturday night, it outdrew college football among young men.

Just so we're clear, college football is a religion south of the boarder.

UFC 124 set for tonight in Montreal with GSP set to face Josh Koschek is said to be one of the most anticipated UFC events ever if not the most. UFC 100 drew over 16 million viewers. Oh yah, and the UFC is on PPV so people aren't just flipping on the tube and watching it for free.

As a contrast here are the numbers from the Stanley Cup final from Wikipedia:

In Canada: Game 6 was the most-watched All-American Stanley Cup Final game, with 4.077 million viewers.

In the USA: Game 2 of the series, on Memorial Day, earned a 4.1 rating.[2] The number of viewers increased as the game averaged approximately 6 million viewers with a peak of 6.940 million at 10:30 pm.

Let's remember that the UFC runs about 12-14 cards per year and there are only 1 Stanley Cup finals. The gold medal hockey game at this past winter's Olympics was a different story though.

Here's a snipit from ESPN:

According to NBC, the game drew an average viewership of 27.6 million and a rating of 15.2, a jump of 45.5 percent from the same matchup at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. Both gold-medal games were aired midafternoon live.

From 5:30 p.m. ET to 6 p.m. ET, the audience reached its peak, with 34.8 million glued to the TV.

The game, carried in Canada on nine national networks and in eight languages, became the most-watched television broadcast in Canadian history. An average of 16.6 million Canadians, or about half of the nation's population, tuned in.

And about 80 percent of the population, or 26.5 million people, watched at least part of the game.

Both sides of the argument have merit.

- There are 68 countries that are part of the IIHF.
- Gretzky has had his face on everything but I don't see GSP trying to sell me a Dodge Ram.
- GSP may be right when he says that MMA is more popular world wide than ice hockey. He may be wrong too, I'm not sure.

I use to think people were nuts when they would say that soccer is the most popular sport in the world. Off the top of my head I don't know that I could name 10 soccer players that play the game today. That's no disrespect to soccer but I think most Canadians would be the same. Likely a lot of Americans too for that matter.

On the other hand I bet most Canadians could name every member on Team Canada from the past Olympics.

My statement is this: I think most Canadians are upset about DW's comments because if you poll the country I'm sure 99.999% of everyone would know who Wayne Gretzky is but I can't see nearly as many people knowing who GSP is. I don't think Dana White disagrees with that either.

I think, and I think DW was meaning that if you were to poll the world you might find more people who know who GSP is rather than Gretzky.

With basketball being so popular in China right now, if you were to ask someone to name a Canadian athlete I bet Steve Nash would be the first name out of many mouths.

If you ask Canadians who they think the most famous Canadian is, I could think of a whole host of people who would come in ahead of George St. Pierre. The rest of the world may not see things the way we do though.

I'm not so sure that Dana White is correct with his statement that GSP is the most famous Canadian but I'm not so sure that he's wrong either.

What's your call?

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