EUGENE, Ore. -- Cutting edge uniforms and revolutionary facilities have become synonymous with University of Oregon Athletics in recent years. Now the Ducks are looking to add social media to that list.
Inspired by social media command centers used by the NHL's New Jersey Devils and leading corporations Dell and Gatorade, Oregon has built out and launched the QuackCave (#QuackCave) as the first digital media hub in college athletics.
With a wall of flat screens controlled by iPads and wireless keyboards, QuackCave's staff of handpicked, digital natives (aka UO students) will monitor, produce and push content through Oregon's multitude of general and sport-specific accounts across all major social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram (uoducks).
"Big brother is now officially watching, but in a good way," said Andy McNamara, who oversees and 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."
Already the seventh-largest social media presence in college sports, totaling nearly 500,000 combined Facebook and twitter followers, UO athletics will now have the ability to interact directly with fans in real time, whether it's answering inquiries, commenting on and sharing fan posts, or joining in group discussions.
"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, UO 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."
The QuackCave was designed exclusively by UO graduate students Anna Miron and Miranda Lee, who committed to the project after responding to a cryptic tweet from Pintens. The duo, working toward their master's degrees in interior architecture, completely transformed a seldom used storage space near Autzen Stadium into a sleek and functional command center with assistance from the athletics facilities staff.
"Anna and Miranda were Instrumental in launching the QuackCave," Pintens said. "Without them and our dedicated facilities staff we would just have a bunch of monitors in a room. They are very talented designers who embraced the challenge and created a space that is not only functional, but fits in the Oregon tradition of innovation while effectively capturing our brand."