Ontarians overwhelmingly believe it's important that Canada's athletes perform well at this year's TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games: CIBC Poll

Major sporting events inspire nearly 40 per cent of Ontarians or their kids to get involved in sport

TORONTO, April 1, 2015 /CNW/ -  A new CIBC (TSX: CM) (NYSE: CM) poll finds that the majority of Ontarians (75 per cent) believe it is important for Canada's amateur athletes to perform well at major international sporting events like this summer's TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games.

In addition to having the power to connect Canadians through a mutual love of sport, the poll shows that nearly 40 per cent say major international multi-sport events like the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games inspire them to get off the couch and get involved in sport or enroll their children in sport. Further, one-in-five have tried a new sport or returned to a sport following a major international sporting event.

"We all know the impact spectators can have on an athlete's performance, but I am always amazed at the number of people I've met over the years who were inspired to get involved in sport just because they saw me or a fellow athlete compete on the world stage," says CIBC Team Next mentor Mary Spencer, who made history by claiming the first women's boxing gold medal at the Pan Am Games in Guadalajara in 2011. "It's great for Canada that the Games are being held here because so many more young people will be exposed to sport."

Key poll findings:

  • 75 per cent of Ontarians say it's important Canadian amateur athletes perform well on the international sports stage
    • More than half (56 per cent) say it instills national pride
    • Almost a quarter (24 per cent) say how well our athletes perform on the world stage encourages participation in sport
    • 13 per cent say it encourages them to adopt healthy and active lifestyles
  • 37 per cent say major sporting events inspire them to get involved in sport or their children involved in sport
  • 91 per cent of Ontarians have never attended a major international sporting event

In terms of financial support, almost three-quarters (73 per cent) believe Canada's amateur athletes should receive government funding, and almost half do not think the government (48 per cent) or the business community (49 per cent) provide enough funding.

"The support amateur athletes receive from corporate sponsorships, like the CIBC Team Next program, is essential for our success and our participation in the Games," says Patricia Bezzoubenko, a rhythmic gymnastics star in CIBC Team Next program from Thornhill, who divides her training time between Toronto and Moscow and took home six gold medals from last year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. "Without this kind of funding so many great Canadian athletes would simply fall through the cracks and never have a chance to participate or to inspire others to participate on the world stage."

A joint survey by CIBC and KidSport™ last year revealed that one third of Canadian children, between three and 17 years old, don't participate in organized sport largely due to the cost, a staggeringly high number when youth obesity has been on the rise. Yet, as many as 71 per cent of Canadians believe participating in organized sport is part of being Canadian.

Interviews with CIBC Team Next mentors and athletes are available upon request.

KEY POLL FINDINGS

Do you think it is important for Canada to perform well on the international sports stage?

           
          Total
Yes         75%
No         14%
I'm not sure         11%

Of those Ontarians who think it's important for Canada to perform well on the international sports stage, the main reasons cited were:

         
  Age
  Total Male Female 18-34 35-54 55+
Instills national pride 56% 55% 57% 52% 55% 61%
Encourages participation in sport 24% 27% 22% 23% 27% 23%
Fosters a healthy, active lifestyle 13% 11% 15% 16% 12% 13%
Creates a lasting sport legacy 6% 6% 6% 9% 6% 3%
Other 1% 1% - 1% 1% -
             

From March 9th to March 10th, 2015 an online survey was conducted among 805 randomly selected adult Ontario residents who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.4%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Ontario. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About CIBC

CIBC is a leading Canadian-based global financial institution with 11 million personal banking and business clients. Through our three major business units - Retail and Business Banking, Wealth Management and Wholesale Banking - CIBC offers a full range of products and services through its comprehensive electronic banking network, branches and offices across Canada with offices in the United States and around the world. You can find other news releases and information about CIBC on our corporate website at www.cibc.com/ca/media-centre/.

About CIBC's Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Sponsorship

As the Lead Partner of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games CIBC is committed to enriching Canadian communities through the power of sport. Through our investments we will create a lasting legacy by funding next-generation athletes, encouraging the volunteer spirit of our employees, helping finance landmark venues and engaging our diverse communities while fusing sport with arts and culture. To learn more visit www.cibc.com/ca/features/panamgames.html.

SOURCE Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

For further information:

Caroline Van Hasselt, Director, External Communications and Media Relations, 416-784-6699, caroline.vanhasselt@cibc.com

Ashleigh Cartier, Media Profile, 416-342-1826, mobile 647-982-8464, ashleigh.cartier@mediaprofile.com

Scott Taber, Media Profile, 416-342-1840, mobile 647-888-9857, scott.taber@mediaprofile.com.


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