Skip to Content

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. With a storehouse of almost a century of stats compounded with the ability to serve up real-time data during games, the NHL® had what they needed to satisfy fans’ hunger for more. 


National Hockey League (NHL)

Customer Website

Sports & Entertainment

Visionary Themes

Sports, Run Live, Run Simple, Sports

New York, New York, USA

Line of Business
Marketing, Sales

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

NHL looked to SAP to help them Run Live by analyzing and presenting data stats to fans in an engaging way, seizing the opportunity to gain insight, and reaching out to their receptive audience with targeted messages.

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.


Enhancing the game experience for fans who view hockey as a lifestyle, not just a sport.

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, National Hockey League®

Better data helps NHL® Run Simple.

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. 


Eager for a Run Live approach, they hungered for play-by-play insight and in-depth information in the moment with key statistics beyond game day. The NHL® looked to build fan interest and enable better storytelling, presenting hockey statistics in interactive ways fans have never seen before via live mobile technology.

More meaningful fan engagement leads to better insights.

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.


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

Data is just numbers without a system in place that can make sense of it.

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.

SAP helps the NHL follow every play in every game, 10 months out of every year.

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

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. Since the February 2015 rollout of, fan engagement and site traffic continues to grow, with over 200,000 average daily page views to the site during the first three months of the 2016-17 season.


SAP makes sense of NHL® data for better business.

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®

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 Live, it also has the potential to transform the entire business of professional hockey.


Running live and running simple enables the NHL® to make decisions in real-time that benefit the game and the fan experience.

SAP HANA not only gives fans what they want. It also gives NHL the information and the edge they need to stay sharp.

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.

Back to top