SBD/June 25, 2012/Media

NASCAR To Open Social Media Center In Partnership With HP

The center will be in a glass-enclosed area with touch screens and TV monitors
NASCAR plans to open a social media center at its offices in Charlotte that will monitor and respond to digital, social and traditional media, much as Gatorade's "Mission Control" operation does. The property has partnered with HP Enterprise Services for the effort. HP will develop a software and hardware system that allows NASCAR employees to monitor and engage with fans and media in real time. NASCAR said that the system and staff will measure the tone, volume and other aspects of social media. The center will be in a 500-square-foot, glass-enclosed area with touch screens, television monitors and work stations. It will be staffed by NASCAR Integrated Marketing & Communications employees who will work on the same floor as NASCAR.com and collaborate with NASCAR Digital Media (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal). MARKETWATCH’s Arti Patel noted the center will be “staffed 18 hours a day by a dedicated communications team.” NASCAR Chief Communications Officer Brett Jewkes said, "There’s a massive amount of volume of conversation around our sport. How can you engage and connect faster? That’s the gap we are trying to close.” HP VP/Communications, Media & Entertainment Rob Vatter said that the technology company is “banking on audience engagement on mobile platforms to drive the collaboration.” Vatter: “Soon almost every fan will have a smartphone at the track” (MARKETWATCH.com, 6/22).

BUZZ WORD: In S.F., Lindsay Riddell noted on Friday at the NASCAR council meeting in the city, “everyone was talking about one thing: engagement.” The NASCAR partnership is “a sign that HP, too is making the transition from hardware and software to cloud computing, to take on competitors like IBM that have invested billions into big data analytics in the cloud.” Vatter said, "We see this as a great way to expand on our traditional analytics business, to help NASCAR drive a better brand experience across its platforms." Both Vatter and NASCAR Senior VP & CMO Steve Phelps “declined to say how much NASCAR was investing in data and analytics” (BIZJOURNALS.com, 6/22). FORBES' Victoria Barret noted 250 brand managers, including execs from Coca-Cola, Sprint and Toyota, were on hand for NASCAR's “Fuel For Business” Council Meeting on Friday in S.F. The meeting “happens four times a year,” with NASCAR bringing “top sponsors together.” One attendee said that Ford reportedly has done about $200M in sales "thanks to hand-shakes made at past events.” The “particular focus” of Friday’s meeting was social media, which featured speakers including Ford Dir of Social Media Scott Monty (FORBES.com, 6/22).
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