What do you think of when you hear the word “QuackCave?” A duck habitat? Some sort of mental health facility? As it turns out, the “quack” in “QuackCave” is a bird of a different feather: its the latest example of the sports world’s growing interest in so-called social media command centers.
We’ve seen these before. From the Super Bowl to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, top sporting events are drafting strategists and techies to monitor social networks and engage with enthusiastic fans near and far. The QuackCave is the University of Oregon’s recently announced digital hub, billed as the first of its kind in the world of college athletics.
Inside the Mighty Ducks’ command center, which is housed in a former storage center near the university’s main stadium, is a wall of flat-screen TVs controlled by iPad-wielding Oregon students. These digital natives will be monitoring feeds and producing content for the university’s general and sport-specific accounts across the top social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram.
Sound a little Big Brotherish? It is, “but in a good way,” said Andy McNamara, who manages the athletic department’s social media accounts. “We have an ever-growing, technically savvy fan base that’s deeply passionate about the Ducks, and the QuackCave will allow us to connect and respond to them in a personal and unique way.”
The fan base to which McNamara refers is already huge. With nearly 500,000 combined Facebook and Twitter followers, Oregon has the seventh-largest social media presence in college sports, according to the university.
“We want to be able to engage with our fans at an unparalleled level and monitor what is one of the top brands in college athletics,” said Craig Pintens, the school’s senior associate athletic director. “But the most exciting part of the QuackCave is collaborating with University of Oregon students, where we can provide real-world experience with a top brand in a burgeoning area of public relations.”
It’s a win for all involved: the school, which will increase its social media profile; the students, who gain resume-building experience in the burgeoning profession of community management; and the fans, whose messages are more likely to receive a response from their beloved team.
Want access to the QuackCave? Use the #QuackCave hashtag, follow the crew on Twitter, or keep your eyes peeled for the soon-to-launch website, quackcave.com, where you’ll find links to the university’s other social media properties.