The NHL’s restart plan gets the nod over the NBA’s. But only by a little. And the general consensus is that both plans are solid.
Both the NHL and the NBA were nearing the end of their regular seasons when sports were halted by the coronavirus outbreak in mid-March. After months of inactivity, both leagues announced plans in recent weeks for the resumption of their seasons, as they seek to complete their campaigns and crown champions.
Therefore, this week’s Seattle Sidelines poll presented the two leagues’ restart plans to readers and asked them to assess which plan they thought was better.
POLL: Which league has the better restart plan, the NBA or the NHL? Full context, including a look at the two plans, here: https://t.co/vaDQichgbA
— Nick Patterson (@NickHPatterson) June 8, 2020
Add up the votes between the poll posted on the blog and the one posted on Twitter and it’s the NHL by a nose. One-third of the voters — 33% — said the NHL had the better plan, while 26% preferred the NBA’s plan. Meanwhile, 30% of responders said both plans were good, while just 11% said neither was a good plan.
The similarity in vote totals between the NBA, the NHL and the “both” option suggests to me that readers didn’t think there was a big difference between the two, and that’s absolutely the case. Both plans only have playoff contenders resuming the season; both have a short number of games before heading into a postseason that plays out like normal; both are consolidating games into a minimum number of locations. There are subtle differences between the two, but largely they’re the same, and the voting reflects that.
However, it was a odd manner in which those numbers equalized, as the voting on the blog and on Twitter varied considerably. On the blog, the NHL received more than double the number of votes as the NBA, 39% to 16%. On Twitter the difference wasn’t as pronounced in the other direction, but it was still the NBA out-polling the NHL 37% to 27%. And there was larger support for both plans on the blog (35%) versus Twitter (24%).
I honestly don’t know how to explain that discrepancy. Usually when there’s a big difference in the numbers between the blog and Twitter I chalk it up to blog voters reading the entire story, while Twitter users are less likely to have done so. But with the plans being largely similar, I wouldn’t have expected those who read the story would sway significantly toward the NHL. Readers prefer the NHL’s five-game play-in series to the NBA’s eight regular season games, I guess?
MLS officially announced its restart plan Wednesday, after the poll was originally posted, and that would have provided an interesting contrast. The league is turning its season into a World Cup-like tournament, which will take place July 8 to Aug. 11 at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. It would have been interesting to see what readers thought about that format.