Your Insights on the NHL Playoffs

68% of BC adults are very/somewhat excited about the Vancouver Canucks being in the NHL playoffs, however 47% are still holding some resentment towards the NHL over the early season lockout. 

Vancouver, BC – With the 2013 NHL regular season having come to a close, a recent Insights West survey of 389 BC adults shows that 68% are very or somewhat excited about the Vancouver Canucks making the playoffs, while excitement about the other Canadian teams is moderate.  However, nearly half of BC adults (47%) still hold resentment towards the NHL for the early season lockout.

The NHL and the Vancouver Canucks have made some progress in winning back fans, as 17% of BC adults call themselves “fanatical” or “huge” fans, compared to 12% who said this in a previous Insights West study conducted immediately after the collective bargaining agreement was finalized.  However, there is work to be done to recover to the 25% who described themselves this way prior to the NHL lockout.  Perhaps of greater concern are those who say they are “not at all” fans, as this has actually increased from the beginning of the season from 14% to 24%, whereas only 1% said they were “not at all” a fan before the lockout.  The decline is consistent across age and gender, indicating that it’s not just one particular demographic accounting for the decline.

“This is a true indication that the NHL has done damage to its fan-base in British Columbia,” comments Allan Dawe, Senior Research Manager at Insights West. “While the biggest fans are starting to come back, the losses appear to be among those who were regular, or occasional fans,” he continues.

When asked what effect the NHL lockout had on their attitude towards the NHL, 47% of BC adults say they still hold resentment towards the NHL. However, among the biggest hockey fans, lingering resentment is at 57%, indicating that the league still has work to do to rejuvenate its fan base.  The appeal of NHL hockey over the past three months has done little to make fans forgive and forget, as back in January an Insight West poll found that 57% of BC adults said they would still harbor resentment in three months.

“Fans have not flocked back to the NHL as they would have hoped, and it appears the Canucks and the NHL needs a long-term strategy to win back those who they’ve lost as a result of the lockout,” according to Dawe.  “This explains why we’re still seeing tickets available for Canucks’ playoff games, whereas in the past these would have been scarce commodities to buy.”

Enthusiasm for Canadian Teams

With Toronto Maple Leafs ending a seven-year playoff drought, and three other Canadian hockey teams making the NHL playoffs, Insights West looked to see how the level of excitement about the playoff berth compares to that of the Canucks. The findings show that the Canucks reign supreme in BC, with 68% of adults excited (‘very’ 39%, ‘somewhat’ 29%), while among ‘huge’ and ‘fanatical’ hockey fans excitement about the Canucks is nearly universal at 94% (‘very’ 82%, ‘somewhat’ 12%).

But in addition to supporting the Canucks, people in BC also follow other Canadian teams with strong interest. Of the other Canadian NHL teams in the playoffs, BC adults are most excited about the Montreal Canadians (35% total excited, 11% “very”, 24% “somewhat”).  They are followed by the Toronto Maple Leafs (33% total excited, 8% “very”, 25% “somewhat”), and the Ottawa Senators (28% total, 6% “very”, 22% “somewhat”).

“Although the Canucks capture the hearts and minds of those in BC, there is still a level of excitement about Canadian teams being in the playoffs. The chance to bring the Stanley Cup back to Canada is something that most people would embrace, and the further a Canadian team makes it into the playoffs, the more people will stand behind them as Canada’s team.  However, the hope is still that the Canucks are the ones planning the parade route,” adds Dawe.

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company that exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis, through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary, and has five full-time, and six part-time employees.

Results are based on an online study conducted in April 29-30, 2013 among 389 British Columbians aged 18+ who are Your Insights panel members. YourInsights.ca is Insights West’s in-house access panel offering on-demand samples for both clients and research suppliers looking for Western Canadian populations. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for British Columbia for age, gender, and region. Results have a margin of error of +/-5.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. To view the detailed data tabulations, click here.

For further information, please contact:

Allan Dawe

Senior Research Manger, Insights West

604-787-0143

allandawe@insightswest.com