HP Discover 2013: NASCAR Uses Big Data To Engage With Fans

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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HP CEO Meg Whitman discusses how big data is helping NASCAR fans and sponsors

HP’s Big Data offerings are helping US motorsport organisation NASCAR to understand its fans more easily, helping it to deliver more relevant product and improve returns for sponsors.

The partnership was discussed at HP Discover in Las Vegas, where HP CEO Meg Whitman claimed that by deploying HP servers, Autonomy IDOL, Autonomy Explore and digital signage displays, NASCAR was “transforming the possibilities of big data into a reality.”

The NASCAR Fan and Media Engagement Center (FMEC) allows the organisation to make real-time responses to traditional, digital, broadcast and social media by collecting this data in-house and storing it together.

What makes the FMEC different from other similar initiatives is the wide range of media it analyses, not just social media. For those not familiar with it, NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) is the largest stock-car racing body in the US, running several major race series.

NASCAR big data

NASCARSteve Phelps, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of NASCAR, explained that this helps it to understand what is being talked over the ecosystem of the sport and become more connected to the fans.

The NASCAR FMEC has already impacted the organisation’s official website. NASCAR is able to tell what types of content, such as text or video, fans are demanding, while they are also able to discover what kinds of site design are most desirable.

“We’re an ever changing sport,” said Phelps, who said that by monitoring these different data sources, NASCAR was also able to understand the overall narrative of the sport and make changes.

More Fortune 500 companies sponsor NASCAR than any other US sport and HP’s big data products are helping the organisation to provide more value.

Phelps acknowledged that NASCAR’s huge sponsorship base is instrumental to the financial structure of the sport and companies who launch products at races can now receive dashboards of information to see how their announcement was received.

“For us to have a positive return on the investment is huge,” he said.

At HP Discover, HP unveiled Haven, a consolidated big data product that brings together many of HP’s big data technologies, including those from Autonomy and Vertica, for use in the enterprise.

“NASCAR is putting big data to work,” she said. ““We could apply this solution to any company in any industry today.”

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