Posts Tagged ‘NHL’

Stanley Cup 2015: Who Is The Social Media Fan Favorite?

2015 Stanley Cup FinalTonight is a big night if you’re a hockey fan. At 8pm(EST) the Stanley Cup finals start where we’ll see the Chicago Blackhawks face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning to see which team will take home The Cup this year.

Both teams have had an exciting season and an even more exciting post-season. In the last round of the division playoffs, both teams took their series to 7 games before winning their chance to play for the sacred Stanley Cup. And now that both the Blackhawks and the Lightning have made it to the finals, this series also promises to be a great one for the fans to watch.

Last week we took a look at which team was the social media fan favorite for the NBA Finals, so we thought it only fair that we do the same for the NHL this week.

Using our Sysomos MAP social intelligence software we looked for mentions of both the Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning across social media from the beginning of the NHL 2014-15 season (which started on October 8, 2014) up to this morning. What we found was that the Blackhawks saw a lot more action on social channels than the Lightning. Looking across all social channels, we found that the Blackhawks were mentioned in 4,212,437 posts over the season. At the same time, the Lightning only received 1,579,467 mentions.

Sysomos MAP - Overall Mentions Comparison of Chicago Blackhawks vs Tampa Bay Lightning

Looking at those mentions plotted out over time on our popularity chart, it actually seems like both teams mentions seemed to have followed the same pattern in terms of mentions. Both teams saw minor spikes and valleys over the course of the season and then much larger ones as they went into the playoffs. However, while their patterns look similar, you can still see that the Blackhawks saw much more action over all, showing that they seem to have a much more socially engaged fan base.

Sysomos MAP - Overall Popularity Over Time Comparison of Chicago Blackhawks vs Tampa Bay Lightning

What was most interesting though, was that when we broke these mentions down to look at them by individual channels, there was a huge discrepancy. When we compared how each team fared across different channels we found that the Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to be getting mentioned more across blogs, forums and in online news articles. Usually by about 40,000 or more mentions. However, on Twitter, the Chicago Blackhawks were definitely more favored and received almost 3 million more mentions than the Lightning. This Twitter support for the Blackhawks was so large though, that it lead to them seeing way more mentions in the overall total above.

Sysomos MAP - Comparison By Source of Chicago Blackhawks vs Tampa Bay Lightning

But mention numbers aren’t everything. We also have to look at the context of those mentions to really see how the Lightning and the Blackhawks are really being perceived in the world of social media. To do this, we explored the sentiment around each team. When we did this, the race got a whole lot closer.

We started with the sentiment around the Chicago Blackhawks. Here we found that they had an overall favorable rating of 81%. Overall mentions of the Blackhawks over the course of the season showed that 24% of those mentions were positive, while 19% were negative. On the other hand, the Tampa Bay Lightning had an over favourable rating of 79%, which came from seeing 26% of their mentions as positive and 19% being negative. A very close race.

Overall Sentiment for the Chicago Blackhawks

Sysomos MAP - Overall Sentiment for the Chicago Blackhawks

Overall Sentiment for the Tampa Bay Lightning

Sysomos MAP - Overall Sentiment for the Tampa Bay Lightning

Looking at the stats above we’re going to make the official call as the Chicago Blackhawks being the fan favourite to take home the Stanley Cup this year. The Blackhawks seem to have way more mentions over the course of the season by fans and a slightly better favorable rating.

Of course, being a fan favorite doesn’t necessarily mean that one is a better team than the other when it comes down to actually playing, so we’ll just have to see who’s going to be the Stanley Cup Champion as the series plays out.

(However, my personal bias as a Chicago Blackhawks fan makes me really hope that our prediction comes true. Go Hawks Go!)

If you’d like to learn more about how our Sysomos MAP software works, please request a demo.

Quick Stats Around The Blackhawks Win

The Stanley Cup officially has a new owner for the next 12 months. Last night the Chicago Blackhawks beat out the Boston Bruins in game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals. As a hockey fan (and specifically a Blackhawks fan) it was a real nail biter, but in the end Chicago pulled off an impressive win in the 3rd period.

All throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs we’ve been tracking social media stats around all the teams. We also tried to make a prediction on who would take home the cup based on social media stats. Now that it’s all over, we thought we’d update you one last time with some stats around Chicago Blackhawks social conversations from yesterday through this morning.

Using MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics, I pulled up social conversations containing the Blackhawks name for the past day. Since yesterday morning the Blackhawks have appeared in 725,000 social conversations. We found 3,314 blog posts, 7,638 online news articles, 3,137 forum postings and 711,487 tweets.

Since Twitter was the most active social channel mentioning the Blackhawks, we dove a little bit deeper into it. The Blackhawks garnered 14,823 tweets per hour since yesterday. Males out tweeted females about the Blackhawks 66% to 34%. We also found that 84.2% of the tweets about the Blackhawks came from within the United States.

Delving further into where the tweets about the Blackhawks originated from, we found that 43.2% came from Illinois. What’s interesting is that only 3.38% of the tweets coming from the United States were from Massachusetts, where the Bruins are from.


One last look at where tweets about the Blackhawks were coming from shows us the mentions plotted out on a heat map. As we can see, the Midwest of the United States, where Chicago is located, is lit up. However, we can see that hockey fans from around the world were also tweeting about last night’s win.

Next, we pulled up the top retweeted tweets about the Blackhawks. All of them have to do with their big win. And two of them have to do with how incredable a win it was with the Blackhawks coming back from being down in the last two minutes of regulation time to take the cup.

Finally, we pulled up the overall sentiment around the Blackhawks in social media. Here we found that the Chicago Blackhawks had an overall favourable rating of 82%. We found that 18% of the conversation mentioned the Blackhawks in a negative light, but it’s pretty safe to assume that most of those came from Boston.

Congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks and we hope all our friends in Chicago enjoy the celebration.

It’s NHL Playoff Time

On Tuesday night the NHL playoffs started. 16 teams are vying for the chance to lift the great Stanley Cup high above their heads and proclaim themselves the 2013 NHL champions. But it’s a long way to owning the Cup soon. And just who will be the teams to play for the Stanley Cup is still yet to be seen. But today, I’m going to use social media data to determine which two teams will be playing in the Stanley Cup finals.

To do this, I used MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics software, to look at talk about all 16 teams in the playoffs. To do this, I looked for mentions of the team name only, not nicknames or abbreviated versions. I broke them down by division and compared all the teams against each other. I pulled up information on the number of mentions that each team received overall, mentions by individual channel and sentiment to compare from the entire (albiet short) regular season.

The following is my findings:

NHL Eastern Division

NHL Western Division


Looking st the data above, it’s not very clear to call a winner from either division.

In the Eastern Division it looks like the Ottawa Senators dominated in terms of volume of conversations. They were mentioned over 5 million times in the 101 days of regular season play. The second place team in terms of mentions from the East was the Toronto Maple Leafs, who had just under 2.5 million mentions. However, when I then looked at the sentiment around the teams, Ottawa was tied for the most amount of negative talk about them (20%). They also had the second highest amount of positive talk though (59%). The Washington Capitals, however, had the greatest amount of positive talk surrounding them, with an astounding 69%. But the Capitals also garnered the least amount of mentions over the season.

Then, in the Western Division, the Chicago Blackhawks had the most amount of mentions for the year. When it came to sentiment around them though, they just faired average (which I find strange considering the amazing run they had). The LA kings, who won the Stanley Cup last year, showed an amazing amount of positive chatter about them this season (70%), but fell somewhere in trhe middle of the pack in terms of mentions. I also found it interesting that the San Jose Sharks (who are a decent team in my opinion) got talked about the least over the regular season in the Western Division, but also managed to get the most amount of negative talk (34%) of any team in either division.

As you can see, looking at this data doesn’t make for an easy prediction on which two teams will meet in the finals. So instead of making the prediction myself, I’m going to leave it up to you.

Take a look at the data above and let us know in the comments which two teams (one from each division) you think we are going to see in the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals. Also, feel free to tell us what parts of that data lead to that conculsion.

We’re looking to forward to hearing your thoughts.

The NHL Is Back!

As a Canadian my winter so far had felt a bit empty. That is, it did until last Saturday. After missing most of the season due to a lockout caused by disputes between the league and the NHLPA (National Hockey League Players Association), hockey finally returned to our lives!

To celebrate the joyous occasion I decided to look at talk about hockey for today’s post. I used MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics platform, to look at talk surrounding the keywords “hockey” and “NHL.” I started my search way back in September when training camps and the preseason action should have been taking place. From September 1 to yesterday I found the terms mentioned 18.7 million times. There were 587,965 blog posts, 546,749 online news articles, 1,506,785 forum postings and 16,094,370 tweets.

Trending that data out over time gives us the popularity chart below. Throughout the chart we can see spikes in conversation, especially on Twitter, at major events in the lockout. The large spike in September was caused by the announcement that the hockey season would officially not be starting when it was scheduled to. The spike in December came from what was thought to be a breakthrough in talks about getting the season going, but wound up breaking down. And then the largest spike in the chart (in January) came from cheers as it was announced that the league and players had come to an agreement and there would still be half a season of hockey.

I dug a little bit deeper into the activity spike on January 6th to see what people were saying. First thing I noticed was that more men were talking about the “NHL” and “hockey” this day than women. Not a huge surprise even though I do know a large number of women that were excited about the announcement. What did throw me off a bit was how much more talk was coming from the United States (61.1%) over Canada (30.2%). Then I looked at the word cloud and buzzgraph. Here I found words one expect on a special day like this, such as “finally” “reached” “agreement.” The one that word that stands out in the word cloud that I thought didn’t fit was “JustinBieber.” It could be his fans spreading joy for the hockey happy Canadian popstar, but I decided not to investigate it any further.

Fast forward a week and a bit and we come to January 19th and the actual start of a hockey season. I decided to look at activity around the same key terms for the past week (January 17-23). Here I found that the excitement is still in the (online) air. In the past week I was able to find 1.7 million mentions of the “NHL” or “hockey.” There were 44,162 blog posts, 34,224 online news articles, 100,040 forum postings and 1,522,030 tweets.

Trending those mentions over time, we can see that there’s real excitement around hockey being back. Not a single day has had less than 100,000 Twitter mentions. The largest spike was of course on January 19th, opening day.

Again, I found that the majority of hockey excitement was coming from North America. Looking at this heatmap of “hockey” and “NHL” related tweets we can see a strong coverage across the continent. There also seemed to be quite a few Europeans excited about the game’s return as well. We can see some more excitement from around the globe as well, but they’re probably just Canadians abroad (kidding).

I then looked into the hashtags being most used around all this hockey talk. One of the most interesting was the “#HockeyIsBack” hashtag which mainly appeared om opening day. It was also interesting to see that 7 of the 10 most used hashtags were for teams. My hometown “#Leafs” seemed to have the most hashtags out of all the teams in the list.

I also pulled up the four most retweeted hockey tweets in the past week. Most of them seem to be jokes about the return of hockey, but the fourth most RT’d tweets was directly from the NHL’s official Twitter account getting people hyped up for Saturday’s grand return.

One thing I can say for sure is that people really are excited that hockey is back. Looking at sentiment for the past week I found that 47% of the conversation was positive and only 12% negative.

Welcome back hockey! We missed you.

NHL: A Lockdown Embraced by Social Media

National Hockey LeagueWatching the current National Hockey League lockout unfold on social media is a fascinating exercise in marketing and damage control.

Much has already been said about the fact the 2004/05 winter without hockey happened in a pre-social media era. The only people reporting on the story were trained journalists compelled to tell both sides of the story. Or, as the cynical would add, encouraged to tell the story to not upset the National Hockey League, which is a major advertiser and sponsor, particularly to big name broadcasters.

In any case, all bets are off this time. While the mainstream media is doing its job of keeping us updated on the latest state of negotiations (nowhere at last check) and reprinting demands from both sides, the social media drama is much more dynamic.

Both sides are active, particularly on Twitter, and fans are taking to social media and blogs in droves.

Who’s the most chatty? The players, their association and the fans. They’re turning the whole thing into a one-sided affair, with the pro-players side saying the most and being the most candid.

Here’s a fan, @NHL_Probs: “roses are red the NHL is locked out I’m gonna go cry after I burn bettman’s house.” And one with a similar handle (NHL-related Twitter names have been gobbled up of late), @NHL_problems: “Gary Bettman has started more lockouts (3) than Rick DiPietro has recorded playoff wins (1) #NHLProblems.”

The fans are having fun with it, posting memes (this one is well done),  and backhanded jabs like this picture of “Columbus fans protesting hockey lockout”.

The players are also getting involved, particularly the younger ones, making regular jabs on social media and showing sympathy for the fans. Then, there’s veteran Teemu Selanne of the Anaheim Ducks, who called Gary Bettman “the most hated man in the NHL.”

On the other side? The NHL’s official Twitter feed is delighting readers with historical anecdotes and links to interviews with hockey bigwigs (a recent Q&A with Red Wing coach Mike Babcock on has zero strike content).

Meanwhile, team owners have been speaking up in traditional and social media. The result? The league is fining them: the Red Wings just got nailed with a US$250,000 fine after senior vice president Jim Devellano made negative comments about the league to the media.

Bettman himself seems to have no Twitter account (rumour has it he cancelled it).

This is a classic damage control mistake: when everyone is talking about you and what’s going on with your company, the rule is to defend your side by engaging in the conversation. Silence and heavy-handed tactics go against all common sense when it comes to public relations. This has long been a business truism, but the stakes are higher and word moves faster in the age of social media.

And now we’re seeing the results: public favour seems to be swaying towards the players and away from the league.

And thanks to social media it’s partly because the players are talking more. And it’s partly that this side is just plain old being a lot more entertaining. And isn’t that what pro sports are all about?


Should Pro Athletes Be on Twitter?

Twitter has been embraced wide and far but here’s some food for thought: should athletes be allowed to use it?

It seems like every day that a professional athlete is getting into trouble by doing something on Twitter that is off-colour, controversial, rude or inappropriate. Then, you have athletes who use Twitter during games when they really should be focused on the task at hand – playing.

At some point, the people running professional sports leagues may start to wonder if the benefits of their employees using Twitter outweigh the negatives.

If you think about it, Twitter is dangerous to sports leagues because it provides athletes with an unfiltered platform to say whatever they want.

There are no media representatives to arrange and monitor interviews, no friendly reporters willing to edit a conversation to keep an athlete from looking bad, and no peer pressure when you have to talk in public.

Instead, athletes can tweet to their heart’s content. And given tweeting is less than 140-characters or less, it is a prefect forum to time-strapped athletes to do whatever they want, whenever they want.

Perhaps a growing indication of how sports leagues are starting to pay more attention to Twitter is the NHL’s take on Phoenix Coyote tough-guy Paul Bissonnette’s enthusiastic embrace of it. Bissonnette has more than 18,000 followers, and provides an insider’s look at what it’s like to be an NHL hockey player. From all accounts, he is having fun with Twitter.

At recent NHL meeting, Bissonnette’s boss, Coyotes GM Don Maloney talked about Bissonnette’s sometimes controversial tweets. Maloney told the Globe & Mail while he can appreciate the benefits of Bissonnette’s use of Twitter, he thinks the league should keep tabs on 50 or so players using Twitter on a regular basis.

“The point of talking about it, for all us 50-somethings, this whole Twitter-Facebook, is we don’t understand it,” Maloney said. “This was a discussion on how do we get ahead of it.”

If professional athletes continue to get in trouble using Twitter, do not be surprised if the leagues starting to crack down on its use.