As of today, NASCAR has 3.2 million Facebook fans and over 870 thousand followers on Twitter alone. They've taken back their digital rights so their website from Turner, and it is now their own to do with as they please. And they have done just that.
And the fan needs to figure out how to sort it all out. If you follow enough folks associated with NASCAR, aka, reporters of the sport, you often see the same content hashed over in the flavor of the writer. Or the organization.
You know what I mean. On Twitter I have my main feed and who I follow. But the main feed is useless to me with so many folks updating and retweeting. For me, Twitter Lists of select accounts is the way to go. But what am I missing when I focus on those lists? What's gone by that might have been critical to me in that haze of a feed where dozens upon dozens of accounts are pummeling my update window?
NASCAR has taken a step back, seen what's going on, and has then stepped up to try and sort it all out, to understand what the social media landscape means to the sport of NASCAR, both in a overall mode, and at the most pressing times, during a race.
Hence, the "NASCAR Fan and Media Engagement Center (FMEC) presented by HP," located in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
This space-station looking control center will be the hub of all content, as conversations are watched and monitored and recorded. Or as they put it,
"to better serve its industry, partners and fans through a cutting-edge technology platform that facilitates near real-time response and analytics of traditional, digital and social media."
But it's not just social media that will be watched, but also traditional media. It will help the sport connect information between the fans and the sport but also connect this information with NASCAR's business partners.
I think it's important that they consider all the forms of communication, meaning adding traditional and broadcast media analysis to their collective. That's because, despite how it looks to some, social media is not the end-all of opinion or information. Social media users do not account for the majority of the fans.
It's been reported that just over 50% of internet fans are on Facebook and 10% are on Twitter. And television accounts for approximately 50% of the sports fans information. And "Enthusiastic sports fans account for 19 percent of overall online users."
Yes, this new piece of equipment is a collector of opinion and news. An aggregate of information that will help NASCAR forge its future. As they put it,
"The FMEC will provide NASCAR the ability to monitor, analyze and better understand the current media landscape in order to respond more effectively and efficiently to fans and respond more rapidly to national, local and global media.
Measurement also will be a key function of the Fan and Media Engagement Center. Those capabilities will expand across qualitative and quantitative measurements, including tonality, volume, proximity and other coverage attributes in regular reports the FMEC will generate for its industry."
So the next time you make mention of something on Facebook or Twitter, your thoughts will or could be contributing to a new mindset. If enough folks echo your premise, then you could become part of the changing landscape. Your voice could actually help things move forward.
And that sounds pretty neat. I'm not sure what other sport or organization is like that.
But don't be fooled either. When they mentioned "to better serve its industry, partners and fans," the first two terms mean how to better shape the marketing of the sport, at least that's my presumption.
Now, as information is tallied, NASCAR can focus a sales pitch like a laser-beam, for any new or potential advertiser. It can report to existing "partners" how things are going and what can be or could be done to improve the return on their dollar.
That, in the long run, is the bottom line. That's not an evil thing, it's just the pervasive attitude of running a business. That's how to better serve both the business end of this model, maintaining or improving profits, while also better serving the fans. Or how to pull in new fans.
The TV landscape over the last few years was a huge push/focus for the sport, but things may have flattened out a bit there. And like many other TV monitoring processes like the Nielsen system, NASCAR is now looking at capturing the digital data of the social world.
That social world... is so much more immediate these days than yesteryear. I'm reading a novel written back in the late 1800's, and for someone to learn about something, much foot-work was needed, along with "posts" sent by carrier back and forth, and then someone had to put all the paper notes down, look them over and re-transcribe them to their best effort. A process that could take weeks or months.
Today, with a digital center like the FMEC, oodles of data will be transcribed in a matter of moments now.
We live in one fascinating era! That's for sure!
NASCAR's Press Release:
NASCAR Launches State-Of-The-Art Fan And Media Engagement CenterCollaboration With HP Brought OnlineDaytona Beach, Fla. (Jan. 14, 2013) – NASCAR and HP today unveiled the new NASCAR Fan and Media Engagement Center presented by HP. This first-of-its-kind resource will enable NASCAR to better serve its industry, partners and fans through a cutting-edge technology platform that facilitates near real-time response and analytics of traditional, digital and social media.NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France and HP Enterprise Services Vice President Charles Salameh were on hand to cut the ceremonial ribbon to officially open the center at NASCAR Plaza in Charlotte, N.C."The Fan and Media Engagement Center build has been a thorough process more than a year in the making, and we are excited to see it come to life," France said. "We believe this tool has the potential to be the best of its kind in sports – the first ever to combine not only social, but also traditional and broadcast media analysis. We'll be able to use this to help our industry and business partners and better connect with NASCAR fans across the world. It's another example of our commitment to innovation."HP collaborated with NASCAR to design and build the Fan and Media Engagement Center. The center is a showpiece on the 8th floor of NASCAR Plaza, where NASCAR's Digital team operates. Physical features of the FMEC include all-glass walls, a monitor bank of 13 47-inch HP displays, and the latest in touchscreen and AV technology. Behind the scenes, HP's custom-developed technology and services, based on its Autonomy analytics solutions, is the engine that processes a massive amount of data into relevant, actionable insights."The FMEC is the culmination of a collaboration between NASCAR and HP," said Salameh, vice president – Americas region, Communications, Media and Entertainment Industry, Enterprise Services, HP. "HP's integrated solution not only benefits NASCAR's complex ecosystem by allowing real-time data capture and analysis across a wide variety of media, traditional as well as digital, tailored to specific audiences within the industry."The FMEC will provide NASCAR the ability to monitor, analyze and better understand the current media landscape in order to respond more effectively and efficiently to fans and respond more rapidly to national, local and global media.Measurement also will be a key function of the Fan and Media Engagement Center. Those capabilities will expand across qualitative and quantitative measurements, including tonality, volume, proximity and other coverage attributes in regular reports the FMEC will generate for its industry.About NASCARThe National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for one of North America's premier sports. NASCAR races are broadcast in more than 175 countries and in 25 languages. In the U.S., races are broadcast on FOX, TNT, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2, SPEED, Motor Racing Network, Performance Racing Network and Sirius XM Radio. NASCAR fans are among the most brand loyal in all of sports, and as a result more Fortune 500 companies participate in NASCAR than any other sport. NASCAR consists of three national series (the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series), four regional series, and one local grassroots series, as well as three international series. Also part of NASCAR is GRAND-AM Road Racing and the American Le Mans Series, known for competition on road courses with multiple classes of cars. NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races at 100 tracks in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico and Europe. Based in Daytona Beach, Fla., NASCAR has offices in eight cities across North America. The next NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race will be The Sprint Unlimited on Feb. 16 on FOX. For more information and a complete schedule, visit www.nascar.com. Follow NASCAR on www.facebook.com/NASCAR or on Twitter: @NASCAR.About HPHP creates new possibilities for technology to have a meaningful impact on people, businesses, governments and society. The world's largest technology company, HP brings together a portfolio that spans printing, personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure to solve customer problems. More information about HP (NYSE: HPQ) is available at http://www.hp.com."