On Sunday January 6, reports indicated that the long NHL lockout would come to an end. Teams are beginning to practice. Games will likely start later in January, and the Stanley Cup will be awarded in June. After such a long and contentious hiatus, will fans return to professional hockey? Social media analysis around Twitter conversations showed some interesting insights.
People expressing opinions about the NHL and NHL teams on Twitter are as disappointed with the league and professional hockey as they are happy that the lockout has finally ended.
In the three days after a resolution was announced, most of the conversation (56%) was simply sharing the news that the lockout had ended.
If we remove that neutral conversation, we can clearly see the split social opinion on the NHL and the end of the lockout.
With social opinion now representing the whole conversation, we find that 49% of the conversation expresses positive sentiment about the end of the lockout and NHL hockey, while 50% expresses negative sentiment.
Using Crimson Hexagon’s ForSight™ social media analysis platform, we uncover the nuance and motivation of this positive and negative sentiment. Within the “Positive” category, 37% of the conversation expresses that they are “Glad the lockout ended.” Additionally, 12% of the social conversation expresses that they are “Excited to see games.”
Of the “Negative” category, 16% of the conversation communicates frustration with the NHL, and 34% expresses decreased interest in professional hockey due to the lockout and severely delayed season.
We also use ForSight to investigate how social opinion changes over time.
In this proportion graph, we see that the share of the conversation expressing “decreased interest in hockey” and the negative segment of conversation overall both increase from January 6, the day of the announcement, to January 8.
At Crimson Hexagon, we will keep an eye on the trend of declining interest in NHL hockey and, potentially, fan loyalty. What do you think? Will the NHL suffer in the long-term from this year’s lockout? Let us know what you think on Twitter @crimsonhexagon.