Two major league sports are winding down their seasons with finals taking place in the NHL and NBA. In the NHL, you have a thrilling series, where both teams have won two home games, turning the best of seven into a best of three. Hockey fans are abuzz about the Nashville Predator’s comeback and wondering if the reigning champ Pittsburgh Penguins can recover and be the first team to repeat in two decades. The NBA finals so far are a dud – even Charles Barkley called them that – with the Golden State Warriors taking two home games by lopsided scores over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
But social media doesn’t care about that. According to international social media analytics firm Talkwalker, there have been more than a half million social posts mentioning the NBA and its final teams, the Warriors or Cavaliers, while the NHL and the Penguins and Predators have generated only 96,000 posts.
The top two hours of social posting related to either sport both belong to the NBA – on June 1, the date of its first game in the hour from 10 to 11 p.m. there were nearly 28,000 posts and on June 5 during game two in that same hour, there were 24,000 posts. Contrast that with the NHL when the top moment was May 29 during game one between 9 and 10 p.m., with just under 6,000 posts.
In the hashtag battle between the two sports, the NBA owns the top three and 10 of the top 12 trending hashtags. Number one is #NBAFinals with 80,500 mentions and number two is #NBA with 38,000. The NHL doesn’t show up until number four – with #StanleyCup at 21,000 and then not again until number eight with #NHL and 9,800.
The NHL has long struggled to attract the casual fan to its game and it appears that the league still has a long way to go. The big question in our mind – Are the Warriors about to whitewash the Cavs 4-0?