Today marks two weeks from when 16 NHL teams begin their quest for the Stanley Cup (no, not that one). With the regular season now in its final sprint and five playoff spots still up for grabs, what does consumer watching intent look like for the NHL postseason starting on April 22? 

The league has some momentum in terms of national viewership on ESPN and ABC thanks in part to events like the Stadium Series in February, which was played outdoors at the NFL’s MetLife Stadium. New CivicScience data show just over one-third of U.S. adults plan to follow the NHL postseason at least ‘somewhat’ closely this year, including 11% who will follow ‘very’ closely. This falls in line with previous CivicScience polling which found 35% saying they followed the playoffs in 2022. Adults under 45 are much more likely than their older counterparts to say they will be following the playoffs this year. 

Cast Your Vote: Which are you more excited for: the NHL playoffs, or the NBA playoffs?

A plurality of those planning to tune into the NHL postseason are most likely to do so via traditional broadcast (38%), while 19% will be doing so via antenna. Rounding out the top three avenues for watching is using a subscription streaming service like YouTube TV or Hulu (18%). For those not blacked out locally, ESPN+ is another option, and 15% are likely to take advantage of it (n=801 from 04/04/2024 – 04/08/2024). 

Antennas are back on trend, and consumers utilizing one for their TV like these NHL playoff viewers should not be ignored. (Want to see how to reach Americans relying on antennas? Explore more in-depth insights with the CivicScience Over-the-Air Audience Tracker by clicking here.)

NHL playoff betting intenders are nearly twice as likely as non-intenders to wager $50 or more on average.

Additional CivicScience data show intent to bet on NHL playoff games aligns with the percentage of those who planned to bet on the MLB season, standing at just over a third of NHL viewers. Those who express interest in wagering on NHL postseason action are nearly twice as likely to report the average value of their bets is more than $50 compared to those not likely to bet.  

Buffalo Wild Wings, Pizza Hut, and Chick-fil-A are primed for postseason food delivery ordering.

The Super Bowl catches much of the attention when it comes to food and eating habits around major sporting events. However, CivicScience data reveal the significance of other leagues like the NHL, with 53% reporting having ordered food delivery while watching NHL games at home. This is not entirely surprising to see, given the majority of NHL games start around dinner time between 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. local time.

When the season shifts to the playoffs, however, as many as 26% of those who typically indulge in food delivery during games exhibit a decreased appetite for it during playoff matchups compared to regular season games. Nonetheless, 74% are open to ordering food delivery during the playoffs, with equal numbers planning to order at their typical rate or more frequently. Those more inclined to order food during playoffs show a distinct preference for restaurants like Buffalo Wild Wings (+29pp), Pizza Hut (+20pp) and Chick-fil-A (+14pp) compared to their counterparts less inclined to order during postseason games.

Take Our Poll: On average, how many times each week do you use DoorDash, Uber Eats, or other food-delivery service?

As the NHL postseason approaches, NHL fans are likely to be high-end bettors (despite concerns about sports betting’s prevalence overall) and hungry for food delivery during games. Will the battle for the last few playoff spots heighten fans’ interest and appetite?

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