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2019 NBA Champions. Photo Courtesy of The Huffington Post Canada.

How are you doing, sports fans? It has been an incredible few weeks of playoffs in various leagues: on Wednesday, June 12, the St. Louis Blues beat the Boston Bruins to win the Stanley Cup, a franchise first. Just 24 hours later, the Toronto Raptors went on to beat the Golden State Warriors to win the NBA Championship, another franchise first.

What does it mean, to win a franchise title for the first time? For the players, management, and coaching staff, it is usually a fairly straightforward answer: it is the culmination of a season and a lifetime of big dreams and hard work making it a reality. For some, it is their first individual title, and for others, it is not. For the Blues, it took 51 years to get to this point; for the Raptors, 24 years. Both teams were underdogs in their respective series, up against franchises with six titles under each of their belts. Yet, they persisted and it paid off.

What does it mean for the fans and the city that the franchise calls home? In simple terms: Everything. Not only is it a great piece of global marketing, it is a chance for a city (and in the Raptors' case, a country) to join together and celebrate positivity and perseverance. And celebrate, they did. It had been 26 years since Toronto's last 'Big-4' championship parade and was the first for many of the Raptors' young fans. Over 2 million people descended upon Toronto's downtown core on Monday to witness history, turning downtown into a sea of red, white, and purple.

At the beginning of the season, each NBA franchise has a 3.3% chance of winning the coveted Larry O'Brien trophy. The chance of winning Lord Stanley's Cup is slightly less, at 3.2%. Those odds are sobering, yet every season, fans lean in and cross their fingers that this is the year that they will hoist their league's ultimate trophy. For the Blues and the Raptors, 2019 was that year and it will certainly be one that will live on in the collective memory of the cities of St. Louis and Toronto, and ultimately, the country of Canada.


Kate Beirness took a short break from covering the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019 to report court-side from the Raptors' epic win at Oracle Arena. Check out her champagne-covered post-game interviews here.

The NY Liberty have won 3 of their last 4 games, with Kia Nurse averaging a team high 22.3 points per game in those 3 wins!

Mike Weir played in back-to-back PGA Tour events over the past 2 weeks. Playing in the RBC Canadian Open and the US Open saw Mike compete among the world's best.


Kyle Lowry at the Championship Parade in Toronto on June 17. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

This week, going global means staying at home, as the 2019 NBA Finals was a landmark sporting event in Canada. It is easy to make that statement based purely on the electric feeling still lingers in the air in Toronto, but we have the numbers to prove it:

  • 8 million Canadians watched the Raptors' game six victory against Golden State, making it the most-watched NBA game in Canadian TV history and the third most-watched, non-Olympic event in Canadian TV history (behind Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals and the 2015 Super Bowl)

  • 6.9 million Canadians watched game five against Golden State, 11% more than the series finale of The Big Bang Theory, the program that has consistently topped Canadian viewership charts for the past decade

  • 56% of the Canadian population watched at least some part of this year's NBA Finals, according to the NBA

  • Sales of Raptors' championship merchandise are the second-highest of all time, just behind the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers

Finally, we will leave you with this: in the United States, the top market right now for Raptors' merchandise is...

San Francisco.

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