Since partnering with the Lotus F1 Team in 2012, Microsoft Corp. has added some of the world’s largest and most revered sports properties to its sponsorship portfolio including NASCAR, the NCAA, Real Madrid C.F., the National Football League and, most recently, the PGA Tour.

The goal of the campaign: showcase how its technology improves business productivity and enhances the fan experience.

Similar to how SAP and other technology companies use sponsorship, Microsoft looks to achieve that objective through technology collaborations that improve operational efficiencies and provide a narrative for field sellers when calling on prospects.

IEG SR spoke with Jason Campbell, Microsoft director of marketing, windows and devices group, about the thinking behind the sponsorship strategy, how the popularity of fantasy sports is driving demand for real-time data, and other topics.

Below are edited excerpts from the conversation.

On leveraging fan passion to promote new technology  
Our sponsorship strategy comes down to passionate fans. The NASCAR fan base is hyper passionate about Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson and other drivers. They’re passionate to the point of obsession.

We’re trying to create fans of our technology. Windows has 1.5 billion users, but aligning with strategic sports properties allows us to tie fan passion and engagement to technology. We want to use technology to create stickiness by providing a better experience in the way fans consume sports.

We’re focused on showing how our technology allows sports teams and leagues to be more productive on the operational side, and ultimately tie that back to what fans want: real-time information.

Fans are hungry for real-time information with the introduction of fantasy sports. Using our technology to give fans what they want is a win for everyone.

On helping NASCAR improve productivity
Last year we introduced a mobile inspection solution for NASCAR. We helped NASCAR transition to a mobile inspection solution from a paper-based process. We’re working with NASCAR to extend that data to fans.

That’s a great story of how NASCAR is using our technology, and something that our field sellers share with their prospects.

Pretty much every industry has some sort of manual process, and we can make a real impact to improve work flow. NASCAR inspections were a five hour process, and we cut that by half. That helps free up officials for more critical work at the track.

Our sellers share that case study with companies in the retail, manufacturing, oil and gas, and the financial services industries to show how we can help streamline manual or potentially antiquated business processes.