Published September 18, 2018
StubHub Second Annual NHL Preview: Vegas Golden Knights Remain League’s Most Sought After Ticket
The Winter Classic continues to see growing demand; “Tavares Fever” Takes Over Toronto
It’s time to lace up the skates and tape the sticks. With two weeks to go until the 2018-2019 NHL season opener on October 6, we crunched the numbers to find the hottest-selling matchups, trending teams and fan gear heading into the NHL season based on sales trends on StubHub and eBay.
Top highlights include:
- Vegas Golden Knights are StubHub’s #1 most in-demand team for the second year in a row.
- The New Year’s Day 2019 Winter Classic is already among StubHub’s top-three selling matchups for the season.
- Toronto fans have “Tavares Fever” as the Maple Leafs see a 49% increase in demand from last season and a 366% increase in eBay John Tavares merchandise sales, after his signing announcement.
Tickets for all NHL teams are available now for the 2018 regular season on StubHub. Read on for more in-depth highlights in the comprehensive season preview below. All data is current at the time of publishing on September 18, 2018.
See Past NHL Preview: 2017
Let’s take a look at StubHub’s top 10 most in-demand team list heading into the season:
Vegas Golden Knights Drive Top Demand Again
For the second year in a row, the Vegas Golden Knights are StubHub’s most in-demand team heading into the season:
- Back to Back: It’s the first time a team has topped StubHub’s NHL list two seasons in a row since the Chicago Blackhawks topped the list for the 2014, 2015 and 2016 seasons respectively.
- Outsold: Golden Knights outsell the Toronto Maple Leafs, StubHub’s second top-selling team, by 27%.
“Last year was an unforgettable season for hockey fans and this year’s numbers tell us support isn’t slowing down for the Golden Knights after their historic run,” said Scott Jablonski, StubHub’s General Manager of NHL, NFL & NBA. “Not only are the Golden Knights the most in-demand team for the second year in a row, their home opener is also the top-selling matchup heading into this season.”
The Champions Rise and New Teams Make the List
A look at the top-10 shows a historical ranking for the defending champs and new teams making the list.
- Championship Bump: The Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals rank #6 on StubHub’s list – the highest ranking they’ve landed in the last five seasons.
- It’s Good to Be Back: Two new teams move into StubHub’s top 10 after missing last year: the Buffalo Sabres and Los Angeles Kings.
Now let’s take a look at the top-telling matchups:
Winter Classic and Stanley Cup Finalists Top the List
Looking at the most in-demand games, we see the Winter Classic already trending along with strong showings by last year’s Stanley Cup finalists:
- Winter Is Coming: The 2019 Winter Classic featuring Chicago Blackhawks vs Boston Bruins on New Year’s Day is already seeing strong demand as a top-three selling matchup.
- Champions Draw: Last season’s Stanley Cup Finals participants, Vegas Golden Knights and Washington Capitals, own StubHub’s top two most in-demand games
- Vegas Demand Stays Strong: Vegas Golden Knights appear in four out of the top ten most in-demand games.
“The Winter Classic continues to be a big draw for hockey fans,” said Jablonski. “Two of the ‘Original Six’ teams are involved in the game at an iconic venue in South Bend, driving the substantial interest from fans this season and placing it high on our top ten list.”
Now, for the top-trending teams and biggest road draws:
Toronto Maple Leafs and Anaheim Ducks are Trending
Taking a look at some of the teams with the greatest growth over the last year and last four years, we see both the Leafs and Ducks trending upward:
- Tavares Fever: The Toronto Maple Leafs see 49% increase in demand after signing Jonathan Tavares in the offseason. The Leafs also see a 213% increase compared to 2014, more than any other team.
- Hometown Signing: On the day of the Tavares signing, StubHub saw visits to its Maple Leafs tickets page increase by 367% compared to the average daily visits in the 30 days prior.
- Tavares Fandom Merchandise Soars: According to eBay data, sales for Tavares merchandise and his latest Maple Leaf jersey rose in popularity. There was a 366% increase in Tavares merchandise sold and nearly six times as many Toronto Maple Leaf Tavares jerseys sold in July over the month prior, welcoming the team’s new center. Maple Leafs merchandise came in at #6 for most fan gear sold out of all NHL teams on eBay.
- Ducks Fly Together: The Anaheim Ducks enter their 25th anniversary season with a remarkable 82% demand increase from last year.
“We’ve seen a 49% surge in demand for Maple Leafs tickets as Toronto fans are clearly excited about the potential of a Stanley Cup Finals run with their hometown hero, John Tavares, at the helm,” said Jablonski. “We have also seen a big uptick in demand of 82% growth for Anaheim’s ticket compared to last year, which shows significant anticipation in that market for the upcoming season.”
Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins are Big Road Draws
Taking a look at how teams draw on the road, we continue to see a tremendous following and interest for the Maple Leafs and Bruins, making this team one to watch no matter what venue you’re in:
- Have Tavares, Will Travel: Away sales for the Leafs are heavily boosted by their early matchup in Chicago against the Blackhawks on October 7 and they are the only Canadian team to make StubHub’s top 5 away draw list.
- Boston Love: The Boston Bruins land just behind the Leafs at #2 with a primetime visit to Washington, D.C. for the Capitals home opener after their Stanley Cup Finals victory last season.
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