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Net Front Presence on Social

Playoff Teams Generate Earn 34.1M Engagements Through Two Rounds

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NHL
Social Media
Published 
June 6, 2022
 | 
6
 min read

Nothing in sports matches the intensity of playoff hockey. Slapshots from the blue line that find their way through traffic to light the lamp, goalies standing on their heads to preserve a late-game lead, board-rattling physicality, and breathtaking overtime action are all parts of the pageantry that unfolds on 200-foot-long ice rinks every spring. And this year’s NHL playoffs have lived up to the billing. Arenas full of fans from South Florida to Northern Alberta have delighted in timely goals and victories, chirped opposing players, and hailed their hometown heroes with hopes of Stanley Cup glory at the end of a grueling postseason. But that passion is not confined to the packed 20,000-seat arenas in NHL cities throughout North America. It is also exhibited online nightly throughout the playoffs. To contextualize clubs’ social reach, we examined their activity and engagement on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube throughout the month of May. MVP’s social platform revealed the Stanley Cup hopefuls collectively earned 34.1 million engagements while competing in the first two rounds of the NHL playoffs, resulting in $27.7M in total post value. A first round filled with competitive series – many of which went the distance – was an ideal catalyst for social enthusiasm.

Ringers Off the Post

In this year’s NHL playoffs, five first-round series were decided in the seventh game – with two others requiring six for completion. The hyper-competitiveness of each elevated the intensity on the ice as well as among fans eager to interact on social. In just over two weeks, the sixteen teams who reached the 2022 postseason collectively generated $18.4M in total post value from 10,610 posts across their owned social channels. The surge of activity resulted in 990.8 million total impressions during the period. The New York Rangers – who overcame a 3-1 series deficit to the Pittsburgh Penguins – led all of their counterparts in total social metrics, earning $2.45M in post value thanks to 3.1 million engagements and 122.9 million impressions. They were followed closely by their first-round foe, as the Penguins were the only other club to eclipse $2M in total post value during the round, finishing with $2.2M. Interestingly, Pittsburgh was one of three franchises to lose in the first round yet still rank among the top four teams in terms of first-round total post value. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins – who also lost seven-game series – generated $1.89M and $1.4M, respectively. Despite their heartbreaking defeat to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto had the highest averages in engagements, impressions, and post value from May 1 through May 16. The Maple Leafs’ top post – a score graphic following victory in Game 1 – was the most valuable to date this postseason, having earned $41,358 in post value. It helped Toronto achieve an average post value of $3,529 – 2.03x more than the league average in the round.

Contenders Lead the Breakaway

While the top four social value-earners in the first round featured an overlapping trio of Original Six members and series losers, trends shifted during the ensuing round. The New York Rangers once again led the way – earning $2.15M in total post value – but they were joined in the top three by fellow eventual conference finalists, suggesting a possible correlation between winning and social engagement as teams get deeper into the playoffs. Colorado dispatched the St. Louis Blues in six games, while simultaneously generating $1.28M in total post value. They were followed by the Edmonton Oilers who earned $1.06M in total post value during their thrilling Battle of Alberta against the Calgary Flames. However, among the top three, Edmonton was the only club to increase its average post value round-over-round. The Oilers boosted their average by 11.16% to $1,589 per post. The Rangers – who not only led the round in total metrics but swept the board in average metrics, too – saw their average post value drop by 5.09% to $3,172 during their series against the Carolina Hurricanes. Overall, only three teams increased their average post value from the first round. Edmonton was joined by their second-round opponent, Calgary, as well as the Tampa Bay Lightning, whose 26.45% jump was the most significant.

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Blueshirts' Strong Attacking Advantage

It has been nearly three decades since the New York Rangers won their most recent Stanley Cup, but the excitement in the Big Apple is already nearing 1994 levels. On the heels of two series comebacks that each needed a seventh game, the Rangers have home-ice advantage in the Eastern Conference Finals. And their momentum on the ice led by difference-makers such as Igor Shesterkin, Chris Kreider, and Mika Zibanejad is being pushed to another level by the bellowing crowd at Madison Square Garden and on their social media accounts. The Rangers have 12 of the 20 most-engaging posts so far this postseason, bringing their total engagements to 6.48 million – 98.7% more than second-place Edmonton in the category. Furthermore, they have a resounding lead in total post value, with $4.6M through two postseason rounds. Pittsburgh’s $2.51M ranks second, with Edmonton, Colorado, and St. Louis rounding out the top five. Eleven of the 16 postseason teams generated at least $1M in total post value during May, with the Florida Panthers being the only team to win their first-round series yet fail to reach that figure.

In addition to examining post value among all postseason teams, we also used MVP’s platform to explore other patterns or social achievements thus far in the postseason. We found the Carolina Hurricanes’ fan base to be among the most invested. Their 0.62% engagement rate more than doubled the league average of 0.29%. No other club was even close, as the Tampa Bay Lightning finished in second with an engagement rate of 0.39%. Also, we identified growth trends among teams. Most notable was the follower growth exhibited by both Alberta rivals on Instagram. The Flames topped our list with a 4.64% growth and the Oilers followed at 3.57% growth on the platform. The league-wide average was 2%, with exactly half of the 16 teams falling on each side of that line.

Extra Shifts Elevate Twitter’s Value

Of the 16,376 total posts from NHL playoff teams during the first two rounds, 65.9% came on Twitter. Such fervent activity helped clubs collectively earn $16.75M in total post value on the platform – 2.42x more than they received on Facebook, which finished second in our rankings. Twitter’s 900.9 million total impressions were similarly 2.45x more than Facebook’s total, with Instagram finishing third in each category. However, the image-sharing platform dominated its counterparts in engagements, with its 20.2 million representing 56.2% of the total across all networks. As a result, Instagram completed a sweep of first place across all average metrics. Its $2,730 average post value was 39.6% higher than Facebook’s $1,955 and 75.9% higher than Twitter’s $1,552. Moreover, teams earned an average of 145,362 impressions on Instagram posts throughout May, while the platform’s 13,855 engagements per post were 6.46x higher than Facebook earned and 18.8x higher than Twitter’s average.

All About the Cup

The Stanley Cup Finals are rapidly approaching, as only four teams remain in contention for the sport’s most coveted prize. The Colorado Avalanche, which had the Western Conference’s best regular-season record, are one win away from the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl. But Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers will not queue for the handshake line until the clock strikes zero. Meanwhile, a battle between the storied New York Rangers and two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning promises to be a captivating series that could be the Rangers’ third seven-game set of the postseason. Over the next few weeks, stay connected to MVP for further evaluations of the conference finalists’ social activity as well as content showcasing broadcast figures during the upcoming Stanley Cup Finals.

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