Analytics for sponsors and fans takes center stage at Indy 500

Shortly before the green flag dropped on this year’s Indianapolis 500, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar Series officials announced they are rolling out a new way to calculate exposure value for sponsors and other corporate partners involved in the Indianapolis 500, other IMS events and throughout the IndyCar Series.

Speedway and IndyCar Series officials announced a multi-year partnership with San Diego-based Hookit that will make the firm’s analytics platform the track’s and series’ official data supplier.

Hookit will provide analytics for all IndyCar Series events and all the events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, including the next big event, a NASCAR race in September. Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 was Hookit’s first event under the IMS deal.

“We will look at all the media including TV, all digital, online and social media,” Hookit Marketing Director Roger Breum told IBJ. “Our software looks at a variety of factors like number of mentions, time on screen, prominence and clarity of logos and a whole host of other factors. Our system compiles the data and puts a value on it. Our proprietary software will show the Speedway and IndyCar how much value is being driven by their events and who the drivers of that value are.”

Hookit’s software will track all online activity within the IMS and other IndyCar venues during races via geotargeted software and will also cast a wider net for certain event-centric terminology across the internet.

Breum said that information will be vital for the IMS and IndyCar Series in crafting future media and sponsorship deals.

Hookit’s software doesn’t just spit out data. 

“The platform tells you not only where the most value is coming from, but it tells users why and offers tips to increase exposure,” Breum said. “We offer predictive and prescriptive data solutions. It’s a consulting as well as an evaluation platform.”

Hookit is working on finalizing deals with several IndyCar Series teams, Breum said. 

“We have the ability to break out information for every team and driver in the series or in any race,” Breum said. “That will all be provided to the series, and we’re hoping to work with the teams as well.

“We see what we provide as the next generation of Nielsen ratings,” Breum added. “We’re not just monitoring what’s happening on TV, but what’s happening at the event and what’s happening in digital and through social media.”

IndyCar officials are ready to get revving with Hookit.

“At IndyCar we are always looking for innovative new ways to succeed, both on the track and off,” C.J. O’Donnell, Indycar’s chief marketing officer, said in a statement. “By partnering with Hookit, we are taking our sponsorships to a new level in terms of the value we will be able to create and prove as well as the effectiveness of our campaigns.”

Started in 2001 as SponsorHouse, the company primarily focused on amateur sports until it steered into professionals sports in 2014.

Hookit’s clients include NHRA, Formula One’s McClaren Racing, GoPro, U.S. Open tennis tournament, Major League Soccer, Asics, Dunlop, Sony, Vans and Suzuki.

Analytics is becoming quite the buzzword at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 

During this year’s Indianapolis 500, Salesforce for the first time hosted an interactive experience that provided fans the opportunity to dive deeply into historical driver and race data and compare cars and racers from different eras.

Using its Einstein Analytics product, Salesforce enabled fans to explore data from past Indy 500s back to 2011 in an experience called the Analytics Pit Stop Experience.

Fans at the track were able to access a leaderboard to compare top drivers by past race results, fastest lap, biggest movers, laps led and on-track passes. The Salesforce software also allowed fans to pit two drivers against one another, comparing them using statistics such as starting position, average speed, time in pit stops, number of pit stops, laps led, and passes. The Analytics Pit Stop Experience also showed which driver had the fastest time and fastest average speed for each section of the track.

Salesforce was a sponsor for the car driven by J.R. Hildebrand at this year’s Indianapolis 500.

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