NHL fans aren’t cord cutting to watch games yet, survey reveals

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While the NHL has made great strides in getting its games on dozens of digital platforms, a significant majority of fans are still watching games primarily on cable TV, according to a Yahoo Sports/YouGov survey of hockey fans in the U.S.

When asked which option best represents the way they watch NHL games, 56 percent of hockey fans in the U.S. said that they watch “live on cable TV.”

That said, there are a significant amount of cord cutters: The next highest answer was “streaming through an Internet connected device connected to my TV” at 12 percent.

Nine percent of all fans said they most often watch games in-person as the arena.

Here’s a breakdown of the answers, including some demographic ones:


Perhaps the biggest surprise is that Millennials and fans 35-to-54 are equal in their cord-cutting: 15 percent of both demographics say they stream games rather than use cable TV. Only 2 percent of fans 55-and-older use an Internet connected device to stream games on TV, while a whopping 78 percent said they watch on cable.

As expected, nearly double the Millennials watch games via social media highlights than do fans 35-to-54.

One more interesting deviation, when it comes to fans watching from different time zones:


Interesting to see 12 percent of fans in the East and in the West using social media highlights to watch games. One theory: Northeast fans catching up with West Coast games the next day via highlights, and West Coast fans tracking East Coast games that are starting while they’re still at work in some cases.

Also interesting: 12 percent of West Coast fans using “other” means to watch games. Which we’ll go ahead and assume means pirated streams, rather than paying for NHL Center Ice.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,180 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 16th – 17th November 2016. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (aged 18-plus).

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Graphics by Paul Rosales/Graphics Editor, Yahoo Sports

Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.


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