EPL Fan Survey 2016 Results

Fans are generally happy with the quality of the hockey and feel that the EPIHL is viable in its current 10 team format but many feel that changes to the structure of the league, cup and playoffs are needed, that the playoff weekend is creeping towards not being value for money as well as feeling the correct ticket price for the league between £10-£12 is revealed today in Banners On The Wall’s first ever EPL fan survey.

(c) 5 Hole Photography

(c) 5 Hole Photography

Background:

With so little feedback about anything that comes out of British hockey in general, Banners On The Wall wanted to get feedback from the fans of all stripes as to their views of the English Premier Ice Hockey League, what is currently the second tier of the sport in Britain.

The survey, which ran from the end of April till the end of May,  got just short of 500 responses; whilst the survey focussed on the EPL (and indeed the majority of responses were from fans of EPL clubs), the survey was open to all. This was a chance to hear from anyone who had an opinion about EPL hockey.  Not being a professional statistician or having access to any really heavy-duty statistical tools, there’s only so much that can be done but if not BOTW then who and if not now, when?

Questions included sections on the basics about who was responding and how much live hockey they took in, the EPL’s value for money, the quality of hockey in the league and how entertaining it is, the viability and sustainability of the league as well as questions about the format of games, the league structure, the playoffs and more.

It has to be admitted that this is not the most scientific of studies, nor does it cover all of the questions that currently ferment about the league and some of its member clubs by name as this is a survey for feedback about the league as a whole with some questions making reference to issues and how they should be dealt with.

Who responded:

A total of 489 people responded to the survey with a roughly 75/25% male female split with the majority being between 25 and 44 years of age.

Just over 50% of people who answered were season ticket holders for the club they supported and most attended 1-5 away games a season. Roughly 10% of people who took part did not support an EPL team. Three quarters said they would attend games as a neutral.

Value for money:

Fan survey 1Those that responded believe that their ticket, be it single game or a season ticket provides value for money with just under 65% giving the league’s value for money at 8/10 or above with the right single ticket price believed to be between £10-£12.

EPL playoff weekend on the other hand saw much more of a mixed reaction in terms of the tickets being value for money. 46.7% gave the weekend’s tickets between 5-7/10 with 5/10 being the most voted for answer with 83 responses.

Fans were asked to suggest what the league could do to increase how much value for money it is. Answers ranged from more teams and longer playoffs to wage caps to lowering the price of concessions and the quality and consistency of the officiating.

Quality and entertainment:

fan survey 2Despite some low scores for both entertainment and quality of the hockey, the view of the vast number of people who responded happy with both aspects of the EPL however there were some slightly contradictory answers regarding imports as 45% felt more imports would increase the quality of the hockey but 46% said that more imports wouldn’t necessarily increase the entertainment. Over 80% agreed with the statements, “what I find entertaining is watching local players giving their all for the jersey” and “it is important for British hockey to have a league where the teams are mostly made up of British players.”

Viability and sustainability:

fan survey 3Those that responded believed that a 10 team EPL with it’s current format was largely viable though when asked, there was a split between those who felt that nothing needed changing, that the cup competition needed changing or that the playoffs needed changing.

From the picture above, we can see that when clubs are in financial difficulties, some of the harsher options offered such as points deductions or playoff expulsion were rejected in favour of either help from the EIHA (the league’s governing body) or that the clubs should just have to deal with the situation themselves.

What else we asked:

fan survey 4Close to half of the 489 people who answered the survey liked both 3on3 overtime as well as penalty shots though a sizeable percentage on both questions weren’t fussed at all by either, just accepting them as part of the game.

One answer particularly of note in this survey is above where there’s a difference of just 0.4% between those in favour of keeping the current 2 points for a win system and those in favour of moving to a more European system of 3 points for a win in regulation and 2 for one in OT and penalty shots favoured which is the system favoured by BOTW.

Also interesting to see is that what was seen as the biggest enemy to the EPL’s success is hockey’s status as a minority sport more than the structures of governance within the sport.

What was wrong with the survey, what was right and what could be done next:

Whilst around 500 people is a good size, it is arguably too small to really understand the bredth of feeling of fans on the EPL. The other issue is the potential change of opinions with the result of things like the increase of imports or ability of Bracknell and Manchester to stay in the league or Cardiff Devils’ part owner Todd Kelman saying that the EPL needed to do more to develop players.

What was right was that the questions were asked. Fans will offer feedback to the individual clubs weekly or by voting with their feet in terms of their going to games but there has been, to my understanding, little feedback to the league as a whole. Very few things that I have seen have asked those questions at a wider level rather than just being club specific.

In terms of where we go, it would be interesting to try repeating this with some similar and some different questions in a year or two years time to see if anything really does change.

What do you think of the results?

As is the way on Banners On The Wall’s way, we invite you to draw your own conclusions and to share them with us on Twitter @BannersOTW or on the Facebook page.

For the full results summary document with graphs and written suggestions from the fans, please click for a summary – EPL fan survey 2016

All parts of this research are copyright of Banners On The Wall. We are happy for this to be used for personal purposes if you wish to expand on what’s been done without payment, provided the site is credited. For commercial use, please contact us.

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