Pigskin over pucks

ANTONELLA ARTUSO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:01 AM ET

GRIEVING NHL fans are most likely to turn to the pigskin to ease their pain, according to a SES Research poll exclusive to Sun Media. Twenty percent of Ontarians polled over the weekend said they will tune into professional football if they can't get their regular hockey fix.

Another 9% of fans said they will turn their attention to junior hockey.

The poll also found that 8% would slide over to major league baseball. Surprisingly only 7% of Ontarians would bounce over to the NBA and the Raptors Meanwhile, 10% of hockey fans say they won't watch any other sport.

"This is kind of like McDonald's going on strike," said Nik Nanos, president of SES Research, noting that people wouldn't stop eating burgers.

"The appetite's still there for sports," Nanos said.

Although some diehard hockey fans refuse to switch loyalties, polling indicates nine out of 10 hockey fans are up for grabs.

Professional football -- not the hockey players or owners --will be the winner of any prolonged lockout, Nanos said.

"Tens of millions of dollars are made on single-point (broadcast) market share in North America when it comes to professional sports," he said.

"I think we have to consider this a zero-sum game. It looks like hockey's loss."

Thirty-six percent of the people polled said they don't watch sports.

Another 10% said they were unsure where they would turn if NHL games were unavailable.

SES Research quizzed 500 Ontario residents between Sept. 11 and 12. Results are accurate to within 4.5 percentage points, plus or minus, 19 times out of 20.

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WHAT TO WATCH?

If the NHL players were to be locked out in October, what other sport would you most likely watch?

Professional basketball 7%

Professional baseball 8%

Professional football 20%

Junior hockey 9%

I don't watch sports 36%

Nothing, I only watch NHL hockey 10%

Unsure 10%

No answer/refused 2%

-- Source: SES


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