If a jet dryer happens to explode on a race track again, NASCAR will now be better equipped to handle the social media fallout.
Monday, NASCAR will unveil its Fan and Media Engagement Center, a technology initiative that collects and aggregates whats being said about it in both social and traditional media and disseminates that information to the proper channels.
The center, housed on the eighth floor of NASCARs executive office building in Charlotte, is believed to be the first of its kind in professional sports. While several sports have a hub for social media engagement, NASCAR touts the glass-encased, 500-square foot tech center as more than that.
As data comes in, whether its social media, digital, traditional media, it might be a TV piece or something on the radio or something thats print-related, itll help us understand whats happening out there from a fan perspective or media perspective, NASCAR chief marketing officer Steve Phelps said. Well have an understanding of whats being said about NASCAR, whether its negative or positive. Itll be able to allow us to react in almost real time to whats happening.
From a social media standpoint, workers at the center could respond to a tweet from a single user or alert radio and TV broadcasters to a certain rule if there appears to be widespread confusion.
If a driver appears on a late-night talk show, the center will also compile media clippings and social media rumblings and send them to the drivers public relations team.
The idea came to NASCAR CEO Brian France more than a year ago after he wanted a better look at the dialogue around the sport. After searching for a technology partner to turn this idea into reality, NASCAR picked Hewlett-Packard as its partner last spring.
The center, which is not open to the public, will be staffed by NASCARs integrative marketing communications staff
The rest of the sports world will look at this, said Charles Salameh, HPs vice president of enterprise services for the Americas. This implementation here shows the reality of big data is upon us and the technology is here to make it happen.