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Customer Snapshot: Overview

>100 Million spectators per year

Simply watching the action and cheering along isn’t enough for most hockey fans who want to see beyond the play-by-play action. 

National Hockey League (NHL)

Customer Website

Sports & Entertainment

Visionary Themes

Sports, Run Live, Run Simple

New York, New York, USA

Line of Business
Marketing, Sales

SAP Solutions
SAP BusinessObjects Predictive Analytics, SAP Fiori, SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, SAP Hybris Marketing , UX design services from SAP

With a storehouse of almost a century of stats, the NHL® had what they needed to satisfy fans’ hunger for more, so looked to SAP to make sense of the data, present it to fans in an engaging way, seize the opportunity to gain insight, and reach out to their receptive audience with targeted messages.

Customer Snapshot: History

99 Years and Counting

Satisfying millions of engaged hockey fans since 1917.

Customer Snapshot: Business Model

Keeping Fans Engaged and Informed

The National Hockey League, founded in 1917, is the second oldest of the four major professional team sports leagues in North America. Today, the NHL consists of 30 Member Clubs, each reflecting the League’s international makeup, with players from more than 20 countries represented on team rosters.

NHL® embraces the future of digital technology.

The NHL entertains more than 100 million fans each season in-arena and through its partners in national television (VERSUS, NBC, TSN, CBC, RDS, RIS, NASN, ASN and NHL Network) and radio (NHL Radio, Sirius XM Radio and XM Canada).

Through the NHL Foundation, the League’s charitable arm, the NHL raises money and awareness for Hockey Fights Cancer and NHL Youth Development, and supports the charitable efforts of NHL players.

Customer Snapshot: Success Strategy

Interactive Info Keeps Fans Tuned In

The NHL® knows that hockey fans increasingly use the Internet, mobile devices, and social media to interact with their favorite sport. Realizing that it had to take better advantage of digital channels to engage fans, the league made it a top priority to increase its use of multimedia, expand its social platforms, focus on mobile areas, and revitalize its Web presence. The NHL® knew how powerful the right platforms can be not only for increasing fans’ interest but also for tracking their online behavior. Armed with insights from analysis of individual fan profiles, the league knew it could market to them in a much more relevant and timely manner. Recently the league recognized that one area was being underserved: statistics.

Better data helps NHL® Run Simple.

A big reason why we hadn’t done more with statistics is the perception that they’re boring and therefore wouldn’t bring in new fans. Then we realized that statistics don’t have to be tedious, static numbers in columns. If presented in exciting ways, they can be very powerful attractions to fans. — Chris Foster, director of digital business development for the NHL®

The Challenge

Bringing Stats to Life for Fans

The NHL® has been collecting statistics on players, teams and fans for almost a century and it occurred to the organization that these numbers could be the key to making fans even more interested and engaged than ever. Hungry for play-by-play insight and in-depth information in the moment and key statistics beyond game day, NHL® looked to build fan interest and enable better storytelling, presenting hockey statistics in interactive ways fans have never seen before via mobile technology.

The organization looked to SAP to revamp the online statistics experience with design thinking, Cloud technology and customizable data delivery. As users interact with the new engaging data delivery service, NHL® reaps even bigger rewards, gathering key insights into users’ profiles and preferences, and reaching customers with targeted messages.

More meaningful fan engagement leads to better insights.

People want digestible information fast, not only fans, but broadcasters as well. — Stanley Cup Champion and current NHL® Analyst, Eddie Olczyk

Enter SAP

From Cloud to Ice and Beyond

Through a multi-year partnership, SAP has become the official cloud service provider for the NHL®. The SAP HANA database manages the volume of information quickly and efficiently, with the SAP HANA® Enterprise Cloud service as the statistics’ back end system. On the corporate side, the SAP® hybris® Marketing solution gathers key insights on fans, helping NHL® plan ahead and deliver direct communications.

The SAP hybris Marketing rapid-deployment solution helped them meet their tight schedule quickly and efficiently.

SAP transformed flat data into dynamic information.

Enter SAP: The SAP Experience

What Do Fans Want? Just Ask!

Hockey isn’t just about the players, the puck and the referees out on the ice – it’s about teams and statistics, players and owners, injuries, strengths and weaknesses, and, of course, the fans.

Before beginning any design, the SAP Design & Co-Innovation Center began by deep diving into the world of hockey and the different ecosystems of the NHL. From players to teams, the NHL has an incredible amount of data within the hockey stats landscape. SAP’s mission was to unlock the full potential of this vast wealth of information to bring the game to life in new and meaningful ways for fans. The aim was therefore to personally engage with people and talk to them to develop empathy for their needs and see the world of hockey from their perspective which was important to understand their broader motivations and wishes and not only their view alone on hockey statistics.

SAP software has helped bring these elements to life for fans in the most engaging and simplified way possible, though the design process was anything but linear. It included continuous refining of feedback and ideas to never lose sight of the main target: Keeping everything grounded in the fans’ aspirations and building the whole experience around their needs. This went beyond updating the visual look and feel but providing fans with a whole new set of tools to go deeper and deeper into the game. Ultimately, the design iterated its way to a higher and higher fidelity finally converging to pixel perfect wireframes. The design team also created extensive, stand-alone design documentation to support the NHL development effort. This ensured that the vision and integrity of the designs would survive following the engagement.
In the end, the fans were happy because the design team checked in with them at each point along the way.
We were thrilled about the way fans reacted to our new statistics section and how much more intelligently we’re now able to market to them. It shows what we and SAP can accomplish by working together. — Chris Foster, Director of Digital Business Development, National Hockey League®

Better Business

Data Flows Both Ways

Thanks to SAP, millions of fans now have their eyes on every stat behind each play, getting a more robust look at the game beyond the ice. And NHL® now has their eyes focused even more clearly on the fans, targeting specific demographics and planning for 100+ more years of excitement and success.

Better Business: Benefits

Keeping Up With the Fastest Game on Earth

SAP introduced a brand new statistics homepage for fans to use as a launch pad into the NHL stats ecosystem. went live with a whole new fan experience on an engaging level never seen before. In the first week of rollout, fan engagement and site traffic was up 25% and continues to climb steadily, with users spending 45% more time interacting with the site. There were a total of 107 unique pieces of coverage published during the first week of launch, resulting in more than 749 million media impressions and 18 million twitter impressions.

SAP is helping the NHL® improve its business by saving time, saving costs, and delivering a best-in-class product to our fans. — Chris Foster, Director of Digital Business Development, National Hockey League®

SAP makes sense of NHL® data for better business.

Better Business: Run Simple

A Real Game Changer

With all this information at their fingertips, it’s not just fans that come out ahead. Sports analysts, scouts and coaches gain better insight into performance and player interaction, proving that this partnership not only helps NHL® Run Simple, it also has the potential to transform the entire business of professional hockey.

Journey Ahead

The Sky’s the Limit for Data

The next step is deep-diving into all the data being collected through fan interactions with the site to help NHL® plan ahead and predict future fan behavior. The team will be incorporating even more historical data as well as determining new data points to begin collecting in the future.

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