Tonight 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.
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.
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.
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
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.