NASCAR Uses Big Data to Better Engage With Fans
NASCAR supports its vast ecosystem--race teams, sponsors and more—with custom-tailored analysis of fan sentiment about its products and services.
By Paul Hyman
The huge entity that governs auto racing events has teamed up with Hewlett-Packard to make sense of the flood of data being generated by social media and elsewhere.
When big data threatens to overwhelm with just too much data, organizations like NASCAR, the sanctioning body that governs much of stock car auto racing, need help keeping things on track.
That is why NASCAR is now partnering with HP, which leveraged its business solution design and implementation services, plus its Autonomy software, into a high-tech platform being used in what has been dubbed the NASCAR Fan and Media Engagement Center (FMEC).
The business challenge that had confronted NASCAR was making sense of all the structured and unstructured data relating to the racing industry–from social media like Facebook and Twitter to media outlets in print, radio and TV, according to Charles Salameh, vice president, Americas region, Communications, Media and Entertainment Industry at HP Enterprise Services.
“NASCAR needed to be able to make the data applicable to their business so they could analyze it in order to better understand fan sentiment, to identify emerging issues, and to uncover trends so they might be able to take some meaningful action,” Salameh says.
To do that, he explains, HP is using its Autonomy Media Aggregation Service to interface with traditional and social media and to grab information that then goes to HP’s Autonomy Explore software to identify keywords, like “Daytona 500” or the name of a certain driver.
Then HP employs the pattern-matching techniques and probalistic modeling of its Autonomy Intelligent Data Operating layer to form a conceptual and contextual understanding of all the digital information gathered.
Finally, HP Digital Signage displays project the results in a way humans can understand it.
“The NASCAR ecosystem is a huge one involving fans, race teams, owners, drivers, racetracks, promoters, sponsors, advertisers, media and many more,” says Sean Doherty, director of digital engagement and integrated marketing communications at NASCAR. “The FMEC is now capable of taking all that data and slicing and dicing it to make it relevant to each of those audiences.”
Race teams can gauge fan conversation and reaction to a new paint scheme for one of its cars to decide whether to alter it before future races.
The Charlotte Motor Speedway is tracking conversations and levels of interaction about one of its recent ticket promotions.
A sponsor is following track response and media coverage about a new marketing campaign.
“FMEC’s uses are really endless,” says Doherty, “and the system gives us a lot of flexibility to segment the data to provide custom-tailored analytics to each of the groups within the NASCAR ecosystem.”
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