Digitization Shifts to High Gear for Auto Racing Series
The challenge: competing demands for fans’ time, attention and spending
Given changing fan preferences for media consumption and competing demands for fan attention and share of wallet, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES leadership and stakeholders sought to fully exploit digital technologies to improve race fan experience, but they were uncertain about the best way forward.
According to Jay Frye, INDYCAR President, the opportunities for greater digitalization of the fan experience are tremendous, from the cars to the raceways to the INDYCAR organization’s race-day and back-office operations. Frye explains that INDYCAR revenue is driven by its fans via ticket and advertising sales as well as sponsorships and promotions. “That’s why extending the thrill of the races and making them more immersive and contextualized with car positions and team standings can help us retain fans and grow their numbers,” he says. “Digitalization will help us do this for fans of all levels, whether they’re attending their first or their hundredth race.”
The solution: mapping out a strategic digitalization plan
NTT conducted thorough assessments and developed a strategic digital transformation plan that would cost-effectively move the Penske Entertainment organizations, including INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), further up the digital maturity curve, including development of a repeatable Smart Sports technology package that could be used by INDYCAR and its industry stakeholders from race teams to event venues.
INDYCAR engaged global industry leader NTT. A team of experts conducted a thorough baseline assessment of the organization’s existing digital infrastructure, applications and skill sets. The operations of the famed IMS venue were included in the overall assessment. Additionally, co-creation brainstorming sessions with key stakeholders across the organizations were completed.
The outcome: enriching the sport of INDYCAR and its fan experience
- Retain and grow fan base worldwide
- Identify new revenue sources via digital enhancements
- Engage fans with increasingly immersive experiences
- Execute a detailed Smart Sports digital maturity game plan
- Deploy greater digitalization in race venues, cars and operations
- Provide a best-practices digitalization model for other sports and venues
From that, they developed a strategic plan that would cost-effectively speed up the INDYCAR and IMS organizations' digital transformation roadmap. Envisioned is the development of repeatable Smart Sports technology strategies to be used by INDYCAR, its racing teams and other NTT INDYCAR SERIES racing venues, which are independently owned and operated. The range of solutions comprises three core components:
- Smart Venues: The IMS facility will feature NTT’s Smart City technologies, which include HD cameras and sound motion detection to enhance connectivity, streamline fan entry and exit, and manage crowds better.
- Fan Engagement: enhancements with the INDYCAR Mobile App and the INDYCAR Data Experience and IMS Media Wall Powered By NTT.
- Smart Operations: To predict and prevent on-track mishaps and score driver performance, NTT will integrate artificial intelligence and data analytics for use in race control to better govern events and their operations.
Rebecca Ruselink, Penske Entertainment CIO, adds “Our NTT technology partnership goes far beyond decals on cars and event leaderboards. It’s been a hands-on consulting engagement and involves implementation as appropriate, such as the INDYCAR Mobile app. Thanks to our partnership, we can move forward with the greatest confidence.”
About NTT INDYCAR SERIES Case Study
To extend its leadership in sports and entertainment, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES® has accelerated its digital transformation to drive more growth with guidance and a Smart Sports technology roadmap from NTT.