How Data Analytics Is Changing The NHL Fan Experience

Glen McCollum

The National Hockey League (NHL) dates back to 1917. Since that time, hockey fans have expected hard hits, last-minute game-winning shots and everything else that has come to make the sport so exciting. What you may not expect, though, is the integration of data analytics into the game. In fact, the NHL has taken every statistic from its nearly 100-year history and made them easily digestible for even the most casual of fans.

The user-friendly interface of the new NHL statistics site allows fans to easily find the information they’re looking for. Whether it’s comparing their favorite players from the past and present or simply looking for last night’s stats on a home team, every bit of information needed is in an easy-to-read format. This means that hockey fans can compare years of data and statistics at the drop of a hat. In essence, the fan experience is like never before.

Playoff pools

One of the most exciting fan experiences related to hockey is participating in playoff pools. Up-to-the-minute statistics can increase your odds of taking home the prize. You can follow how teams and players have been doing lately, and with this information, you can increase the chances of reigning supreme over your family and friends. Just be careful who you share the NHL stats site with; you don’t want to end up losing to your brother.

Fantasy hockey

In 2012, around 10% of the U.S. population was participating in sports fantasy leagues. Since there are nearly 14 million avid hockey fans in the country, a large portion of these leagues undoubtedly focus on hockey. With SAP’s partnership with the NHL, you now have access to every possible statistic you’d need to build the ultimate fantasy team.

Everyone benefits from sports data analytics

Hockey teams can easily benefit from the statistics available through NHL.com, but by making office pools and fantasy leagues easier to participate in, the NHL definitely improved the fan experience. This is so much the case, in fact, that traffic to the league’s website jumped 25% since the statistics section was added.

Of course, it’s not just teams and fans that benefit. After the statistics section was launched, engagement and time on the NHL website has increased by 45%. Just like in any other organization, more engaged fans mean higher profits for the NHL.

Thanks to new technology that improves the fan experience, the sport of hockey seems poised to only increase in popularity. More important, the real winners are the fans.

For more on how teams are using technology and the Internet to connect with their fans all over the world, see The Future of Sports Marketing: Play Locally, Think Globally, Drive Loyalty.


Glen McCollum

About Glen McCollum

Glen McCollum is senior director of Global Indirect Marketing at SAP. He is responsible for driving demand generation plans and activities with SAP’s Global Platinum Reseller partners. Glen is a transplanted Canadian who lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, USA, with his wife and three sons.