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Setting Lord Stanley’s Social Stage

NHL Contenders Generated $118.9M in Post Value During Regular Season

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Social Media
April 29, 2022
June 21, 2022
 min read

Snipes, board-rattling hits, and heart-stopping overtime goals are all on the horizon as the National Hockey League’s postseason is set to begin on Monday. Half of the NHL’s teams have productively navigated the first uninterrupted, 82-game schedule in three years and earned a place in the playoffs, where history has proven anything can happen. As evidenced as recently as 2019, not even the regular season’s top club is safe once the pursuit of Lord Stanley’s Cup commences, so the President’s Trophy-winning Florida Panthers must remain focused once their first-round series begins. The same goes for all 16 franchises with championship hopes. Such aspirations are often intensified by passionate fan bases, so the organizations’ social media teams have been galvanizing their supporters for months. We used MVP’s social platform to explore the reach and performance of each Cup contender across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter since opening night last October 12. Collectively, the 16 clubs – eight from each conference – made 6.55 billion impressions and generated $118.9M in post value during the regular season. But our examination revealed teams in a particular region are overwhelmingly more popular on social than their counterparts.

Beasts of the East

With the introduction of the Seattle Kraken this season, the NHL included 32 clubs and was represented in every corner of the United States as well as seven cities across Canada. Yet among playoff teams, those located in the Eastern Conference and specifically the Northeast were most influential in moving the social needle. Led by the New York Rangers, each of the top five franchises in terms of post value generated throughout the regular season resides in the East – with two representing the Atlantic Division and three coming from the Metropolitan. The Rangers, Boston Bruins, and Pittsburgh Penguins earned the top three places in our rankings, amassing $12.9M, $12.4M, and $12.3M, respectively. But it was the fourth-place team in total post value, the Toronto Maple Leafs, who were most efficient with their social content. Despite producing only 4,726 posts, Toronto generated $11.8M in post value – an average of $2,503 per post to lead all playoff teams. The highest-ranked Western Conference team was the Edmonton Oilers, whose $7.6M in post value was good for sixth among playoff contenders. Surprisingly, none of the division winners finished in the top half of our post value rankings. Florida, who finished the season with more points in the standings than any other club, ultimately generated the least total post value and fewest impressions – $2.8M and 183.8 million, respectively.

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Season-Ending Storm Surge

As the postseason drew near, teams locked in closely contested divisional races as well as those jockeying for playoff position strengthened their social media pushes, as evidenced by the contenders’ collective $10.6M in post value over the last two weeks. Among the most impactful franchises since April 13 has been the Carolina Hurricanes, whose posts celebrating their Metropolitan Division title generated $44.5K in post value thanks to 42.8K engagements and 2.67 million impressions. First-round foes St. Louis and Minnesota have also parlayed their on-ice success into social prominence, as graphics showcasing playoff-clinching victories made 560K impressions and 484K impressions, respectively. In total, the playoff teams’ combined 9,990 social posts over the final two weeks of the season created 586 million impressions and earned 14.9 million engagements.

Instagram Lights the Lamp

MVP’s season-long study of NHL teams’ social accounts revealed two clear patterns. First, the playoff contenders are significantly more active on Twitter, with 81,652 combined tweets accounting for 69.3% of their overall social posts. The sheer volume of content on Twitter helped generate more impressions – 3.57 billion – and a higher total post value – $64.3M – than Facebook and Instagram combined. But results from our social platform also revealed Instagram is best at stimulating the masses. Although Instagram posts represented only 9.3% of the teams’ social content, they earned 68.6% of all engagements. As a result, the image-sharing network more than doubled each of its competitors in average engagements, average impressions, and average value per post. Throughout the season, IG posts from the league’s top teams averaged $2,471 in value.

Concentrating on the Cup

After six months of frequenting dozens of rinks across North America, it is time for the NHL’s elite to get comfortable with their respective opponents as they prepare to face each other up to seven times over the next two weeks. Hockey’s postseason is annually marked by high intensity, packed arenas, ever-lengthening playoff beards, and handshake lines until one team secures the coveted Stanley Cup. And until this year’s champions are skating around the ice with the Cup overhead, MVP will continue to monitor the clubs’ social channels to determine if winning in the postseason has a more meaningful effect on social reach than winning in the regular season while also identifying other unique insights on a round-by-round basis.

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