Slapshots and Spending Sprees: How the NHL Playoffs Put Canadian Cities on a Power Play

Slapshots and Spending Sprees: How the NHL Playoffs Put Canadian Cities on a Power Play

May 23, 2024 By: Niyati Budhiraja Calculating time...
Raise your sticks, hockey fans! The NHL playoffs are upon us, a time for epic overtime battles, heart-stopping saves and applaud-worthy hat-tricks. NHL playoffs are a significant economic driver in Canadian cities. They not only bring excitement to fans but also generate revenue for local businesses.  

The Moneris Data Services team has put together data to understand the impact of the NHL Playoffs on reputed arenas, bars, restaurants, local pubs and more in different cities across Canada. 

Ready to find out how hockey takes over Canadian wallets and hearts? Game on! 

Edmonton and Vancouver 

Cities like Edmonton and Vancouver saw significant spending increases near the arena, with Edmonton boasting an average growth at restaurants of over 50% during home games. Interestingly, Vancouver fans seemed to spend more consistently, even during away games, with some games showing a 20% or higher spending increase at restaurants near Rogers Arena. 

The economic impact goes beyond just bars and restaurants near the arena. Both Edmonton and Vancouver saw city-wide spending rise during the playoffs, indicating fans were spending more across the board.  

Striking Oil

Here's a breakdown of the economic impact of the Edmonton Oilers' playoff home games: 

Businesses near the arena (Ice District) saw a massive increase in spending during each home playoff game, with an average growth of over 50%. 

The opening game had the biggest boost, with spending going up a whopping 63%. 

The entire city of Edmonton also benefited, with double-digit spending growth during each Oilers home game (though not as high as the Ice District). 

Slapshots and Spending Sprees- How the NHL Playoffs Put Canadian Cities on a Power Play

All Together. All In. 

Moneris data suggests Vancouver Canucks fans spent a lot of money at businesses near Rogers Arena, even when the Canucks were playing away games (not in Vancouver): 

• Compared to a regular season game, spending went up significantly near Rogers Arena during some Canucks away games (games four and six in Nashville). There was a 37% increase for game four and a 20% increase for game six. 

• The Canucks offered a special way to watch away games: buying tickets to watch the game on a big screen inside Rogers Arena. This might explain the spending increase near the arena during away games. 

• Canucks fans completely sold out tickets for viewing game six1, indicating high attendance and spending. It’s also been longer since Vancouver has seen the playoffs, meaning round one for Canucks fans might be more special than ever. 

Slapshots and Spending Sprees- How the NHL Playoffs Put Canadian Cities on a Power Play

Oilers v/s Canucks

Overall spending trends were similar in both cities. However, there are some key differences:  

Opening Games: Vancouver saw a bigger spending increase near the arena during their opening game (72%) compared to Edmonton (63%). 

Citywide Impact: Edmonton saw a bigger spending increase across the entire city during their opening game (15%) compared to Vancouver (8%).  

Away Games: Vancouver fans seem to spend more at businesses near Rogers Arena even during away games. The data shows a 37% and 20% spending increase for games 4 and 6 respectively, which was higher than other Canadian teams. 

The Canucks-Oilers series guarantees a Canadian team in the conference finals, which is good news for businesses in both cities, along with Canadian hockey fans. Even though there's a rivalry, both fanbases are spending money and keeping the playoff economy strong. 


Toronto, a city with multiple major sports teams, presented an interesting case. Spending did increase during the first round for the Maple Leafs, but the growth was slower compared to other cities. This might be due to the other sporting events happening throughout the playoffs, making it harder to isolate the impact of Leafs games.  

Moneris data suggests that spending in Toronto grew during the Playoffs but slower compared to other cities. There are a few reasons for the slow start:  

No "Clean Control" Days: It was difficult to isolate the impact of the Leafs' games because other major Toronto sports teams (Blue Jays, Raptors) were also playing regular season games during the NHL playoffs. This means bars and restaurants might have already seen a boost from those games, making it harder to see the specific effect of the Leafs. 

Losses Didn't Encourage Spending: When the Leafs lost games, especially early in the series, fans weren't as likely to go out and celebrate, leading to less spending at bars and restaurants. 

"Round One Curse" Mentality: Some Toronto fans might have a pessimistic attitude about the first round of the playoffs, waiting to see the Leafs perform well before getting excited and spending money; which inevitably manifested that way. 

Interesting Trends: 

Despite the slow start, spending did pick up by the end of the series. Near the arena, spending went from -4% in game one to up 9% in game seven. Across the entire city, spending went from -3% in game one to up 3% in game seven. 

The biggest spending increase came during game four, which was a Saturday with both the Leafs and the Blue Jays playing at home. This suggests fans might be more likely to spend when there are multiple sporting events happening in the city. 

Slapshots and Spending Sprees- How the NHL Playoffs Put Canadian Cities on a Power Play 


The Winnipeg Jets' playoff run, though short-lived, provided a welcome economic boost to the city. A win in game one led to a near-doubling of spending near the arena, and even losses couldn't dampen fan enthusiasm entirely. We saw a double-digit spending growth throughout the series, highlighting the strong connection between Jets fans and their team. 

Here's a breakdown of the Winnipeg Jets' playoff run: 

• A win in game one brought excitement to fans and a significant spending increase. Spending almost doubled near the arena and citywide spending rose by a solid 6%. 

• Even with a loss in game two, spending remained strong. Spending saw double-digit growth near the arena and across the city. 

• When the series shifted to road (away) games (games three and four), spending decreased as fans couldn't watch the games in-person in Winnipeg. 

• With elimination looming in game five (back in Winnipeg), fans rallied again, leading to another spending surge. Spending near the arena rose by 13% and citywide spending jumped even higher, with a 21% increase. 

Slapshots and Spending Sprees- How the NHL Playoffs Put Canadian Cities on a Power Play

The NHL playoffs are a time for excitement, celebration, and a boost to the local economy. But beyond the dollars spent, there's something truly special about the hockey season. It's a chance for communities to come together and cheer for their heroes. Whether it's selling out arenas or friends gathering at their favourite local pub, the playoffs bring people together in a shared love (and loyalty) for the sport. 

For more data driven stories, check out Moneris Data Services. 


Article filed under:

insights and trends


Recommended Articles