Oregon Athletics Goes Digital: The QuackCave Era

All screens are in use at the QuackCave on game day at Autzen Stadium

Oregon is (debatably, of course) the number one brand on collegiate athletics. With outstanding performances by their varsity teams, a solid consumer fan-base, and an ever-strong frenzy over which jerseys the football team will wear each game; Oregon has become the precedent setter for the collegiate athletic business model. We are #YFTFT.

(For those of you who aren’t following @QuackCave, #YFTFT = “Your favorite team’s favorite team”.)

Fans, alumni, athletes and media outlets alike are talking about the Ducks online, 24/7 (no, really).  Have you ever tried to follow the #GoDucks hashtag on Twitter or seen how many “likes” one post from the Duck Football Facebook account gets? It’s crazy. It’s overwhelming. It’s unthinkable. It’s Oregon.

Commence: QuackCave. QuackCave, the first digital hub in collegiate sports, is the official resource for everything Ducks.

You want to know a stat? #QCknows. You want to brag about your team? #NationalBrand. You saw something green and yellow? #GoDucks. How about that picture you have of you and Joey Harrington? #QCtbt (throwback Thursday).  You found a picture of our opponent admiring at our basketball team’s fresh new kicks? #YFTFT.

QuackCave monitors social media outlets (Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, Facebook, etc.) with online monitoring programs like Postano. Every time someone clicks, types, blogs, uploads a video or shares a picture about the Ducks, well, #QCknows. Creepy? Sorta. Awesome? Definitely.

Below is a list of some, but not all, things that QuackCave does for the Oregon brand:

- Tracks conversations, online buzz

- Monitors the Oregon brand

- Engages with consumers

- Compiles data that drives future communications initiatives

- Creates an online dialogue

- Analyzes consumer attitudes

- Unites Oregon fans across the globe

So, what is it like to work in such a place? Well, for starters, it looks cool (see: article photo). But, beyond its aesthetic appeal, working in the QuackCave is stressful and exhilarating, chaotic yet methodical.

On game days, tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram pictures and online articles are being posted about the Ducks. On football game days, multiply the number of tweets, posts and pictures by a couple thousand ([Video] Oregon All Access: Game Day in the Quack Cave). Pre-game excitement runs rampant on social media, fans share game time play-by-play updates instantaneously, and post-game conversations round out a full day of Oregon-related digital media.

On days without scheduled competitions (which isn’t often) QuackCave is still monitoring, sharing and engaging with fans. Insider info, competitions, discussions and “did-you-knows” keep the Oregon brand relevant and interesting.

So, if you thought Oregon is the number one brand in collegiate sports solely because of its athletic achievements over the last ten or so years, think again. Oregon is innovative and precedent setting in all ways, specifically with its digital strategy. My prediction is that soon a digital hub will be a must-have growth tool for the business of collegiate athletics. We can all thank Oregon for that.

 

Article by:

Kayla Glanville // @kaylaglanville // Connect with me on LinkedIn // Check out my blog: All Things Considered

12 thoughts on “Oregon Athletics Goes Digital: The QuackCave Era

  1. Kelsey Culbertson

    I always wondered where all of my #goducks tweets and instagram photos were going. This is an incredible insight to how Oregon works to monitor and follow the social media surrounding their brand. I, personally, did not know that there was a quackcave tracking the brand. It’s also interesting to note that QC tracks past the traditional #Goducks, but that it facilitates multiple hashtags and multiple social media sites. Lastly, the article leads me to wonder: what methods does the QC use to track all of these social media inputs 24 hours a day?

  2. Oregon athletics clearly loves to be innovative and trend-setting, especially when it comes to technology, but it will be interesting to see how this strategy could potentially be utilized in other areas throughout the University. There’s no reason why the Alumni Association could not use a similar strategy to track Alumni engagement and create an Alumni community online. The same strategy could also be used with different academic and extracurricular communities. The Quack Cave strategy should not just be limited to just the athletics side of things. There is a lot more potential here than that.

  3. I knew a little about the QuackCave prior to this blog post, but, similar to Kelsey, I did not realize all of the tasks QC performs for the Oregon brand. I am curious to know whether their have been/what challenges you and your fellow QC employees have experienced? With content being posted 24/7, how frequently must the monitoring programs be checked? Also, with the apparent success of the QC, will expansion be necessary? And finally, have other schools contacted UO in attempt to replicate the QC at their school?

  4. I was wondering if someone would talk about the QuackCave this term. I like your overall summary of the services of the program because it helps people understand the scope of what it does, and it speaks to the program model. But I think the existence of this sort of thing asks much deeper questions. Like should colleges even be a brand? Does this make them too commercial and less focused on academia? I wonder if something this exists for the higher ups at UO to follow what people are saying about the school in general? Is there one place that unifies all social media for the entire university? And does the #goducks hashtag speak to the UO as a whole and brand the entire university?

    It is an interesting model, and I would be interested to know if anything similar exists in other athletic departments and whether any universities, including ours are asking themselves these questions.

  5. It’s interesting to see how the University of Oregon has taken off as a brand so intensely since the athletics have been more successful. Athletics allows for the college name to be seen, heard, and exposed at higher volumes compared to other events. This is because of the emphasis we place on sports; through our televisions daily, all over social media, and through word-of-mouth. I agree with Jenny that this QuackCave can be a great idea for academic purposes and events. But I feel the reason the QuackCave works so well is because sports fans are all over social media talking, posting, creating, and searching all things sports. That is the fans playing field. I love your descriptions of the hashtags. They are brilliant and fun. I’m excited to watch this QuackCave now that I understand more about it.

  6. This is awesome and genius. I can only imagine how crazy it is to work in the QuackCave, especially on game day. I love that there are 8 screens, and still the two people in the picture are using 2nd screens (iPad & iPhone).

    Oregon is, as it often is, totally ahead of the curve on this one. The QC is a perfect example of how an organization can have an important presence in social media and play a vital role in the community. Not only does the QC operate to sustain brand awareness and relevance, it also helps to aggregate information so that the organization can learn what the fans think/feel/want/believe.

    Like some of the other readers mentioned, I would be curious to see if the QuackCave idea expands to other areas of the UO. It would be very disappointing if the University didn’t see the enormous potential the opportunity presents.

    I would be shocked if other schools didn’t swoop in and try to replicate what the UO and QuackCave are doing. #YFTFT

  7. Wow, I had no idea. The ducks are light-years ahead of the game in technology, innovation and overall style, so it makes sense that there’s a driving force behind it all, I just can’t believe how much QuackCave really does for the ducks. In Kayla’s list she mentions that it analyzes consumer attitudes, but I wonder how the feedback of those consumer’s really come in to play. Aside from just stirring conversation, do the opinions of fans reach anyone with influence? From the big ethical problems, down to what we duck fans want to see the players wear for games, does QuackCave help deliver the message? I think it’s a great idea and forward thinking, but I’m with Jenny… Couldn’t the U of O use this type of tracking system for other purposes besides athletics? There are many other areas of campus that could really use the help in the spreading-the-word-department, so how can this technology reach those people too? Just a thought… either way, great blog!

  8. Wow, I had no idea that Oregon even had such a thing. It doesn’t really surprise me that Oregon is the first school to have a digital hub. Oregon has become so incredibly innovative and resourceful that they are successfully becoming a huge national brand. It’s interesting to see the list of all of the different things the QuackCave does. I agree that in part, Oregon’s success as a national brand is due to the obvious accomplishments of its varsity sports teams, but Oregon is also a major success due to its digital strategy. I wonder how many other colleges will try to recreate their own version of a QuackCave?

  9. I did my Case Study on the New Jersey Devils and how they are the only team in professional sports, like the Ducks are the only team in college sports, to have a social media hub. The fanbase that exists in both Oregon athletics and within the New Jersey Devils is lightyears ahead of their competition. For whatever reason, this unique feature is LOVED by fans of our program as well as the New Jersey Devils. It really isn’t complicated it just takes a dedicated few people to make it run. But the satisfaction rate is through the roof for the fans that frequently use social media. During the NHL lockout, the New Jersey Devils were the only team to stay completely engaged with their fans even without games being played. The ability to stay engaged and consumed by your favorite team, even when the season is long gone, ensures you couldn’t possibly forget about the impact they have on your life. The promotion and reach that social media has, is far beyond any other media platform and I am very surprised more collegiate and professional teams haven’t caught on. The interaction, the interest and love for sports is at an all-time high and social media is the one thing teams and businesses NEED going forward if they want to make an impact on their market.

  10. Compilation of digital media is an essential part of building any brand, it seems. Hashtags have revolutionized this process indefinitely, (but you all know that already..) The QC would definitely be a place I would come to check out all things Oregon related, especially if I were not in the immediate University community. Prospective students and athletes alike can access the QC no matter their location, and gain invaluable data and information regarding the University of Oregon. When we talk about Oregon’s “National Brand,” we think green and yellow, wings on uniforms, progressive academics and a beautiful campus. This is not only our perception of the school, but the nation’s as well. In a sense, the Quack Cave provides authentic hype and attention in one location for the University of Oregon.

  11. Without a doubt, the Quack Cave is a demonstration of thought leadership in the college space. In theory, a simple concept that can be leveraged in infinite ways, as mentioned by this post and all the comments. The #NationalBrand aura has grown as a result of the addition of the Quack Cave and brought extra PR attention to an already strong brand in the college space. It has positioned it with the likes of Gatorade and the Red Cross Mission Control Centers as a best practice – that is a #NationalBrand hard at work!

    Social Media Command Center Infographic:
    http://beingyourbrand.com/2012/11/02/the-anatomy-of-the-social-media-command-center/

  12. I had never heard of the Quack Cave before and am so glad I read this blog! It’s obvious that the University of Oregon excels at sports, especially football, and provides many people with content to post about on social media. Through taking several different PR classes and learning about social media and social media audits, the Quack Cave is perfect for this university.

    If I get stressed out during our weekly Sunday night twitter chats, I can only imagine how fast-paced of an environment the Quack Cave must be during a football or basketball game. Through working in the Quack Cave and being in this class, are there any strategies that work best when quickly analyzing content and simultaneously posting your own content as well? What is your favorite part about working with social media and tracking certain trending topics?

    #GoDucks

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