Predictive Sports Betting Analytics

Advanced analytics is becoming more and more a key theme in sports betting. CantorGaming leads the way in the US in regards to in-game wagering and technology. Haralabos Voulgaris built a basketball database and model that NBA GMs and other gamblers salivate over. Hear how they (and annecdoteally others) each build edges for themselves, manage risk, and consistently earn profits each year.

Moderator – Jeff Ma

Football Analytics – 2013

Over the past few NFL seasons, we have seen the impact of unconventional coaches and players. Jim Harbaugh took a 6-10 49ers to the NFC Championship in one year and a Super Bowl in two. The New England Patriots have excelled at drafting and signing unconventional players such as Julian Edelman, Danny Woodhead, and Wes Welker. The success of both teams has been driven by their coaching staff’s ability to effectively evaluate talent and make critical strategy decisions. In this years’ football analytics panel we are going to dive deep into three topics: advanced metrics and strategy behind player evaluation, pre-game planning, and in game decision making.

Moderator – Andrea Kremer

Monday Morning Quarterback: Coaching & In-Game Decisions

Football is a gladiator sport coupled with the strategy of chess. In a format similar to ESPN’s Around the Horn, this panel will explore game situations and discuss how analytics are used to make decisions. This panel of football experts will review specific game scenarios where analytics are advantageous but not always utilized.

Moderator – Tony Reali

Basketball Analytics – 2013

Basketball analytics tools, which are used off court as well as live during the game, can bring small competitive advantages that can shift games and even playoff series. How can an advanced scouting system help to better prepare an NBA player to defend his opponent? How basketball analytics helps teams become not only more effective but also more efficient? What is the role of sport analytics when making trading decisions and team buildup? And what is the next new initiatives in basketball analytics?

Moderator – Pablo Torre

Congratulations to the 2013 winners

- Alpha Award for Lifetime Achievement – Bill Belichick

- Alpha Award for Best Analytics Organizations – San Francisco 49ers

- Alpha Award for Best Trade or Free Agent Signing – Los Angeles Clippers trade for Chris Paul

- Alpha Award for Best Analytics Innovation/Technology – Sports Reference Web Sites (Baseball Reference, Pro-Football Reference, Basketball Reference)

- Alpha Award for Best Research Paper Presented by SAP – The Value of Flexibility in Baseball Roster Construction (Timothy Chan, Douglas Fearing)

- Alpha Award for Best EOS Talk Presented by Ticketmaster LiveAnalytics – The Automated Prospect Model (Adam Guttridge)

- Trade Show Business Competition – GameChanger

- First Pitch Case Competition (MBA) Presented by MLBAM – Tuck School of Business-Dartmouth (Chuck Culp, Dave Sibley, Jon Ryder)

- First Pitch Case Competition (Undergrad) Presented by MLBAM – Queen’s University (Sam Petras, Devon MacMurray, Josh Hoffman)

Day One Recap Now Available!

“Five stages. 39 panels. 2700 attendees. 21,600 people hours. All in the pursuit of the next great sports analytics breakthrough, and that is just the first of two days at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.” Read Zach Slaton’s full wrap-up of Day 1 at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference on the blog here!

Sloan Sports Analytics Conference: Day One Wrap Up

By Zach Slaton, Author of A Beautiful Numbers Game, Contributing Writer at Forbes

Five stages. 39 panels. 2700 attendees.  21,600 people hours.  All in the pursuit of the next great sports analytics breakthrough, and that is just the first of two days at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.  My intention of describing the conference as the Super Bowl of sports analytics was to draw an analogy between the scale of the conference and it being the culmination of an academic calendar’s worth of research.  Day one lived up to those expectations and more. Continue reading

Newton’s Football: The Stealthy Science of the NFL

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How does the shape of the football invoke chaos theory? What did Vince Lombardi learn from Sir Isaac Newton and the beautiful mind of John Nash? How did Bill Walsh channel Werner Heisenberg? These may not be the questions you ask when you sit down in front of the flat screen on Sunday. But after hearing the answers in this TED-style tour of the scientific underpinnings of the NFL, you’ll never watch a Packers-Bears game the same way again. Tag along for a deep dive into pro football’s hidden history, as well as revealing glimpse into its potentially radical future.

Coach Killers or Creditors: Player Salaries as Debt

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Long-term, large-dollar, guaranteed player contracts share many characteristics with debt obligations and the tax code, accounting standards, and league policy have recognized this implicitly in different ways over the past seven decades. Similarly, certain players have exerted tremendous influence over management decisions, which arguably amounts to a tacit acknowledgment of these players as de facto providers of capital as well as labor. Despite this reality, this sort of behavior is met with near-universal criticism. This talk attempts to apply a more robust corporate governance framework that appropriately legitimizes players’ roles as stakeholders in team management.

Why You Don’t Understand Luck (Invited)

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Luck is with us at the sports conference this year (or are we?). Michael Mauboussin willI go beyond what you think you know about luck, skill, and its impact on players and sports outcomes and explain why most people (particularly coaches) do not understand the complicated relationship between luck and skill in sports and therefore have a difficult time making or assessing appropriate decisions when the game is on the line.

Moneyball Revisited (Invited)

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In their book “Moneyball Revisited” Andrew Zimbalist and Ben Baumer examine the value of analytics in identifying player skills that are undervalued in the players’ market (as did Billy Beane with on-base percentage). The more interesting aspect of this process is that once a team benefits from such an insight, within a year or two, other teams are bound to notice the market inefficiency and exploit it. When they do, the market skill becomes fully (or over-) valued and the original team must now search for a new inefficiency. Thus, the search for analytic insights and advantages is a dynamic process, fraught with frustration. Andrew and Ben have constructed a model that statistically identifies this process and traces its evolution over time and will present the results of their research on the value of analytics.

Where are the real “Game Changers”? Picking small companies poised to revolutionize the sports business (Invited)

Innovation through new technologies and business models have the promise to completely change the face of sports. But as an athlete, coach, owner, executive or investor—how do you pick the true “Game Changers” and get involved? Carmichael Roberts, a successful serial entrepreneur and general partner at North Bridge Venture Partners, will talk about his approach to selecting the winners that can have a profound impact in sports.

Hitting ‘Em Where They Are (Invited)

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In 1999, Voros McCracken rocked the world of baseball analysis with a stunning argument: major league pitchers have no control over the outcomes of balls hit into play against them.  His controversial and counterintuitive paper has since become perhaps the single most-studied topic in baseball.  Although subsequent writers have been able to determine some exceptions to the rule, predicting batting average on balls in play (BABIP) has remained an exceedingly difficult task, and the most frequently used measures of pitchers’ skill do not bother to try.  This presentation will identify two components of pitchers’ performance that are strongly correlated with BABIP, and show how they can be used to forecast this statistic with surprising accuracy.  It will also explore which types of players possess these abilities, and how teams might use this information to improve their pitchers’ performance.

Finalists Ready to Compete for 2013 SSAC First Pitch Competition Titles

After months of hard work from MBA and Undergraduate teams across the country, the finalists for the 2013 Sloan Sports Analytics First Pitch Competition presented by MLB Advanced Media have been decided! The MBA teams have been working to develop strategies that will drive growth for the MLB.TV business model, while Undergraduate teams have been tasked with bringing digital products of the future to the MLB ballpark. Teams will present recommendations to a panel of business and industry leaders at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference on Friday, March 1st. And the finalists are…

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Defeating the Dead Ends of Data Analytics

The following guest blog post was written by Rajiv Maheswaran, Research Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California’s Computer Science Department.

It often begins with a question. Perhaps, it is wondering why something happened or curiosity about the relationship of one thing to another. We can ruminate, speculate, debate and finally let it dissipate. For many, that is enough, but for others, either by personality or profession, we need answers. So we start with “observations”, what we can see and record from the real world, and see if we can transform them in some way to give us what we believe is insight. In this way, sports is like science: hypothesize, predict, experiment, analyze, rinse, and repeat. It’s the “repeat” part that is the key yet is sometimes lost because analysis often leads to large piles of excrement, hence the rinsing. Continue reading

Armour39™ by Under Armour: EXCLUSIVE! See and Hear about this NEW Technology from the Creators

This spring Under Armour brings you Armour39™ – the first-of-its-kind performance monitoring system made for athletes and the only device capable of measuring your WILLpower™ – the first true measure of an athlete. Armour39™ is the only device engineered to provide athletes with precise, instant information that helps them train to improve, regardless of sport. Learn more about Armour39™ in this presentation and product demonstration by Under Armour.

Precision Market Insights from Verizon: Big Data – Insight to Action: Sports Case Studies

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Moderated by former CMO Jeffrey Hayzlett, the experts from Precision Market Insights will unveil how they are leveraging Verizon Wireless – the nation’s largest and most reliable network, and leading advertiser– to bring a new standard of data and analytics to the sports industry. They will present ground breaking case studies highlighting how Precision is helping teams, leagues, and sports marketers to better measure sponsorship investments, validate partnerships, drive ticket sales, and create an improved experience for the fans.

Moderator – Jeffrey Hayzlett

ESPN’s Use of Analytics in Storytelling

In the last few years, there has been a dramatic increase in ESPN’s usage of quantitative analysis and advanced statistics to tell deeper stories and reveal new insights about the games we love.    In addition to the creation of new metrics such as Total QBR and the Basketball Power Index (BPI), ESPN has infused advanced statistics into its storytelling across its various platforms (TV, Audio, Digital, and Print).  Come see examples and hear from some of ESPN’s anchors and writers discuss how they introduce and use of advanced statistics and analytics to serve a wide array of fans across different mediums, sports and cultures.

Moderator – Michael Smith

HP Vertica: Big Data Analytics in the Wide World of Sports

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Join Will Cairns, senior data scientist at HP, over lunch as he describes how the HP Vertica Analytics Platform enables you to manage and analyze massive amounts of data to find critical answers for your sports-related initiatives. By joining this session, you will also get a clearer understanding of the role of relational database management systems in analytics and research as well as the impact of sensor technologies on the growing volume of data. An avid golfer and fantasy golf enthusiast, Will Cairns will provide specific examples on PGA Tour research and admit, albeit begrudgingly, how data science ultimately beats his intuition and overall golf knowledge.

Ticketmaster LiveAnalytics: Sports Business Analytics and Ticketing – Case Studies from the Pros

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Ticketmaster’s LiveAnalytics division provides fan and live event intelligence to sports teams and venues. Representatives from the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Orlando Magic will show examples of how they are using data and analytics to attract and retain fans, optimally price tickets and improve business performance.

SAP, the 49ers and the NBA: New Technology to Drive Fan Engagement and Team Performance

The NBA is redefining the experience for millions of fans and the 49ers are pioneering solutions to help drive key player personnel decisions. Learn how these industry leaders are using new technology to deepen fan engagement and maximize team performance.

Data Mining and Analytics: Turning Insight into Action using CRM (Invited)

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Marketers have long known that creative messaging is more compelling than generic messaging, and that personalized communication increases conversion rates over impersonal communication. But how do these basic marketing principles translate onto the ticket sales floor, where outbound phone sales have traditionally been about quantity over quality, and success cannot be measured in click-through rates? This talk will elaborate on principles and practices for leveraging buyer profiles, demographic analysis, psychographic and behavioral data, and third party data enrichment to drive dynamic sales campaigns that yield measurable increases in close rates.

Your Personal Fantasy Sports Reporter (Invited)

Imagine if every Fantasy matchup had reporter cover the event similar to what’s done for an actual NFL, MLB or NBA game. Thanks to new software developed by Automated Insights, Fantasy previews, recaps and even periodic updates throughout a matchup are now a reality. In this EOS talk, Robbie Allen will describe the software behind the automated Fantasy Sports Reporter and reveal some interesting discoveries they made about fantasy users after publishing tens of millions of fantasy recaps this past football season. Finally, he’ll address the following question: If we can have virtual reporters covering a virtual event using an arbitrary configuration of lineups and settings, do we even need a real event to base the game on or can it all be virtual?

Beyond The Kiss-Cam: Measuring The Fan With Computer Vision Based Analytics

What are fans really doing at the game? When are they watching the action on the field/court, and when are they buried in their phone or tablet? Which ads do they notice on the JumboTron, and which ones do they ignore? Who’s joining in the wave and who’s not? Are they having fun? If you are a club trying to retain seat-buying fans, fill empty chairs, or effectively use an advertising budget, then these are important questions to answer. Video surveillance tools can help, but sifting through crowd footage does not scale. In this paper, we describe a computer vision-based software method that goes beyond just capturing videos. We propose a machine learning-based framework that can automatically recognize certain kinds of fan activity. Our technique is based on convolution neural networks and it leverages crowd-sourcing to inexpensively and quickly build a training database. We conducted experiments on crowd footage of a college basketball game and describe our results. Importantly, we show how its possible to preserve the anonymity of the fans.

DataMorphing: Dynamic Interaction with Basketball Big Data

Big data is coming to sports in many ways such as optical tracking. Its ultimate value is only realized if we enable customers, e.g., general managers, coaches or fans, to get insights from this data. The answer that has been successful in many data analytics domains is to allow users to manipulate the data quickly and leverage the best pattern recognizer we have: the human mind. The solution is the creation of interactive data visualizations that let people slice-and-dice data on the fly. We present tools and technologies that show how we are able to do this with basketball optical tracking data, the insights that it brings and how modern computational approaches can transform how sports and big data interact.

Identifying a New Metric for Football Efficiency

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Can one determine objectively, using numbers, how “good” a team is?  This presentation leverages existing football game data to construct a “football efficiency” metric. This new number allows for a higher degree of confidence when predicting a winner during comparisons of efficiency.  Instead of using misleading information, such as total yards or points per game, this efficiency number measures the average amount of yards an offensive team must attain in order to score a single point.  Consequently defensive efficiency can also be measured by examining which defensive teams force offenses to work the hardest to earn every point they score. This efficiency metric is extremely simple, yet it has a very high correlation to the win% of a team over the course of a season.  Calculated efficiency ratings for NCAA teams were compared against the BCS rankings at the end of the season with very positive results.

The Science of Team Chemistry: Measuring Team Chemistry from Human Biology in Basketball and Soccer

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SyncStrength analytics transforms heart rate and other biological measures, performance statistics, and interpersonal dynamics into actionable insights and products to maximize health, fitness and performance. In addition to this, SyncStrength scientists are now developing and validating the first algorithms to objectively quantify team chemistry from player biology. In this presentation we will present how team chemistry evolves during the events of a game and a season in soccer and basketball players. To quantify team chemistry, we analyzed the strength of synchrony between players’ heart rates during games. The strength of synchrony between players’ heart rates provides a window into how their nervous systems anticipate, react, and recover from the physical and mental demands of working together as a team. This has never been tested in athletics, yet in the research lab setting, stronger synchrony corresponds to stronger interpersonal chemistry (e.g., cohesiveness, trust, cooperation). In the evolution of sports, coaches will be able to use advanced biometric analytics such as SyncStrength to monitor and optimize key domains of team chemistry as well as the impact of these domains on team performance, fitness, and health.

The Automated Prospect Model

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The automated prospect model, as the name suggests, models and then automates our human judgment as scouts. Typically, evaluating players and assessing them within the spectrum of talent involves the judgments of many disparate scouting voices. Each of these voices view the talent pool fragmentarily—in tiny fractions of varying detail—then the attempt is made to align/reconcile/balance all those opinions against one another. As a result, one can only achieve a very narrow, low-detail view of the talent spectrum, which causes players to be incorrectly valued. The advantage is having one source that can view the entire scope of pro talent and evaluate it systematically, rather than fragmentarily. By automating our judgment, organizations can gain access to perspectives and granularities that are unachievable without it.

Behind the Scenes with ESPN Stats and Info for Super Bowl XLVII

The following guest blog post was written by John Parolin, Statistics Analyst, ESPN Stats and Analysis.

Like 108.4 million other Americans, the people of ESPN Stats and Information tuned in on Feb. 3 to watch the Baltimore Ravens hold off a late comeback from the San Francisco 49ers to win the Super Bowl. When the final seconds ticked off and the Ravens hoisted a second Lombardi Trophy, ESPN Stats and Info went to work. Continue reading

Acceleration in the NBA: Towards an Algorithmic Taxonomy of Basketball Plays

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I filter the 25-frames-per-second STATS/SportVu optical tracking data of 233 regular and post season 2011-2012 NBA games for half-court situations that begin when the last player crosses half-court and end when possession changes, resulting in a universe of more than 30,000 basketball plays, or about 130 per game. To categorize the plays algorithmically, I describe the requirements a suitable dynamic language must have to be both more concise and more precise than standard X’s and O’s chalk diagrams. The language specifies for each player their initial starting spots, trajectories, and timing, with iteration as needed. A key component is acceleration. To determine optimal starting spots, I compute burst locations on the court where players tend to accelerate or decelerate more than usual. Cluster analysis on those burst points compared to all points reveals a difference in which areas of the court see more intense action. The primary burst clusters appear to be the paint, the top of the key, and the extended elbow and wing area. I document the most frequently accelerating players, positions, and teams, as well as the likelihoods of acceleration and co-acceleration during a set play and other components intended to collectively lead to an algorithmic taxonomy.

Read full paper here

Going for Three: Predicting the Likelihood of Field Goal Success with Logistic Regression

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The field goal is a critical scoring play in the National Football League. Coaches and fans alike are interested in the probability that a field goal attempt will be made or missed. Traditional analyses assume that the attempt distance is the primary factor determining success; however, we believe that other environmental and situational factors cannot be ignored. We constructed a binary logistic regression model based on data from the 2000-2011 NFL seasons to identify factors that have a significant effect on the likelihood of field goal success. Distance and most environmental factors were significant. Altitude and artificial turf improved the likelihood of a make, while cold temperatures, wind, and precipitation reduced it. Contrary to popular belief, not one situational factor (regular season vs. postseason, home vs. away, whether a timeout was called before the attempt, and situational pressure) was significant. We used our comprehensive model to evaluate kicker careers, seasons, and stadiums between 2000-2011. This evaluation is superior to pure make percentage, which is ignorant of the difficult of a kicker’s field goal attempts. By more accurately predicting the outcome of field goal attempts, coaches can make better in-game decisions and fans can gain a greater understanding of kicker ability.

Read full paper here

To Crash or Not To Crash: A quantitative look at the relationship between offensive rebounding and transition defense in the NBA

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Immediately following a missed shot an offensive player can choose to crash the boards for an offensive rebound, get back on defense, or hold their current position. In this paper, we use optical tracking data to develop novel metrics to summarize a team’s strategy immediately following a shot. We evaluate each metric using data from the 2011-2012 NBA season. Our results confirm that getting back on defense and neutralizing threats early in the possession contribute to a defensive success. However, tendencies to get back early on defense after a missed shot can reduce a team’s probability of getting an offensive rebound by more than half.

Read full paper here

Total Hockey Rating (THoR): A comprehensive statistical rating of National Hockey League forwards and defensemen based upon all on-ice events

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Hockey is a fast and fluid sport with players frequently coming on and off the ice without the stoppage of play. It is also a relatively low scoring sport compared to other sports such as basketball. Both of these features make evaluation of player performance difficult. Recently, there have been some attempts to get at the value of National Hockey League (NHL) plhttp://www.sloansportsconference.com/wp-admin/admin.php?page=nggallery-manage-galleryayers including Macdonald , Ferrari , and Awad . Here we present a new comprehensive rating that accounts for other players on the ice will a give player as well as the impact of where a shift starts and of every non-shooting events such as turnovers and hits that occur when a player is on the ice. The impact of each play is determined by the probability that it leads to a goal for a player’s team (or their opponent) in the subsequent 20 seconds. The primary outcome of this work is a reliable methodology that can quantify the impact of players in creating and preventing goals for both forwards and defenseman. We present ratings for the top forwards and defensemen based on all events from the 2010-11 and 2011-12 NHL regular seasons.

Read full paper here

Live by the Three, Die by the Three? The Price of Risk in the NBA

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An important problem facing a basketball team is determining the right proportion of 2 and 3 point shots to take. With many possessions remaining, a team should maximize points—a 3-pointer is simply worth 1.5 2-pointers. 3-point attempts have roughly double the per-shot variance as 2-point attempts, but a team should be “risk neutral.” As time remaining decreases, the trailing team should place an increasingly positive value on risk; the opposite holds for the leading team. Our game theoretic analysis yields a testable optimality condition: 3-point success rate must fall relative to 2-point success rate when a team’s preference for risk increases. Using four years of play-by-play data, we find strong evidence this condition holds for the trailing team only. As a lead decreases, the leading team should become more risk-neutral, but teams in this circumstance actually tighten up and become more risk averse, contrary to what their risk preferences ought to be to maximize the chance of winning the game. We also show that if the offense shoots more 3’s as it becomes risk-loving this implies the attack can be varied more readily than the defensive adjustment. 3-point usage does increase with the trail team’s preference for risk, but actually falls for the leading team. Teams get it right when losing and wrong when winning. We also find a strong motivating effect of losing—the trailing teams displays an overall boost in efficiency for both shot types.

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The value of flexibility in baseball roster construction

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Drawing inspiration from the theory of production flexibility in manufacturing networks, we provide the first optimization-based analysis of the value of positional flexibility (the ability of a player to play multiple positions) for a major league baseball team in the presence of injury risk. First, we develop novel statistical models to estimate (1) the likelihood and duration of player injuries during the regular season, and (2) fielding abilities at secondary fielding positions. Next, we develop a robust optimization model to calculate the degradation in team performance due to injuries. Finally, we apply this model to measure the difference in performance between a team with players who have positional flexibility and a team that does not. We find that using 2012 rosters, flexibility was expected to create from 3% (White Sox) to 15% (Cubs) in value for each team, measured in runs above replacement. In analyzing the results, we find that platoon advantages (e.g., having left-handed batters face right-handed pitchers) form an important component of flexibility. As a secondary finding, based on our statistical analysis of injuries, we find that the likelihood of injury increases with age, but not the duration of injury does not.

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The hidden foundation of field vision in English Premier League(EPL) soccer players

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Professional team sports are extremely information rich, dynamic and complex, which may provide players with fast and accurate field vision decisive competitive advantages. What then are the underlying processes that make some professional players appear to have better field vision than others? The purpose of this study was to learn more about the ways that some of the best professional soccer players in the world use visual exploratory behaviors (body and head movements initiated to better see their surroundings) in real-world games and to test the relationships between these behaviors and performance. Close-up video images of individual players were obtained from Sky Sport’s split screen PlayerCam broadcasts of 1279 game situations with 118 players (midfielders and forwards) in English Premier League (EPL) soccer games. The results show a clear positive relationship between visual exploratory behaviors that are initiated before receiving the ball and performance with the ball. The best players explore more frequently than others and there is a positive relationship between exploratory behavior frequency and pass completion. The impact of exploratory behaviors is the largest for midfielders performing forward passes. These behaviors may have been off the radar for coaches, scouts and fans, and practical implications are offered.

Read full paper here

The Dwight Effect: A New Ensemble of Interior Defense Analytics for the NBA

Basketball is a dualistic sport: all players compete on both offense and defense, and the core strategies of basketball revolve around scoring points on offense and preventing points on defense. However, conventional basketball statistics emphasize offensive performance much more than defensive performance. In the basketball analytics community, we do not have enough metrics and analytical frameworks to effectively characterize defensive play. However, although measuring defense has traditionally been difficult, new player tracking data are presenting new opportunities to understand defensive basketball. This paper introduces new spatial and visual analytics capable of assessing and characterizing the nature of interior defense in the NBA. We present two case studies that each focus on a different component of defensive play. Our results suggest that the integration of spatial approaches and player tracking data not only promise to improve the status quo of defensive analytics, but also reveal some important challenges associated with evaluating defense.

Read full paper here

The Printed Athlete: How 3D Printing is Changing the Face of Sports

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Over the past two decades 3D printing has radically shifted the way that many industries design new products. The medical field uses the process for creating bespoke hearing aids and aerospace companies use it to design more efficient aircraft. However, one of the sectors that is on the leading edge of this revolution is sports. All the major sporting goods brands have started to adopt the technology. From 3D printed high end parts for F1 race cars to multi-colored 3D printed footwear prototypes at Nike; the opportunities offered by the new manufacturing process has the chance to transform how athletes and customers interact with the games they love. This talk focuses on how 3D printing technology already has and will continue to revolutionize sports using examples from Mike’s time at Burton Snowboards and Loughborough University’s Sports Technology Institute. Additionally topics such as the future of the technology and growing areas of innovation including mass customization and protective equipment will be discussed.

Sports as an Alternate Asset Class

Based on his experience running a baseball-centric hedge fund in Las Vegas in 2012, Joe’s presentation centers on the ease with which he raised money from sophisticated investors who were drawn to the fund, not because it provided an element of entertainment but because the fund provided an investment uncorrelated to other holdings, albeit with a similar risk profile.  Joe believes that if Las Vegas would embrace some structural changes in how they do business – in short, adopting some Wall Street best practices – the sports analytics industry could penetrate and create a niche in the trillion-dollar asset management business in the U.S.

Paired Pitching

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What do sky divers have in common with MLB General Managers?  Why would Tiger Woods make a good pitching coach?  Why are middle relievers better than ace starters?  This talk will answer all of these questions and suggest a central theme – the tectonic plates that underlie modern pitching have shifted and nobody has correctly exploited this shift.  Further, the team that understands this shift and adopts a disruptively different pitching staff will win more games.  This talk will first discuss applications of economics, behavioral finance, and portfolio theory.  The talk will then propose the “Paired Pitching” model of pitching staff construction, analyze what effects various manifestations of Paired Pitching would have on wins, and will close with an examination of empirical evidence that a rotational pitching system is indeed sub-optimal.

How Analytics and Big Data Are Impacting the Evolution of the Fan Experience

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How has the Evolution of Analytics and Big Data influenced the way fans are consuming sports?  This Evolution of Sport talk addresses not only how Fan Behavior is changing, but also explores opportunities for sport brands to recognize and capitalize on these emerging trends. The three interrelated topics discussed in this presentation are: segmenting fans based on data consumption, understanding how the Second Screen is changing fans’ consumption patterns and recognizing how fans’ adaption to the prevalence of the secondary ticket market is impacting behavior.

Performance Engineering: A Legal Approach for the Elite Athlete

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Training for elite sport performance requires a substantial investment of time and effort on the part of both the athlete and the support staff. Importantly, training to excess can result in illness or injury. Moreover, the relationship between training and performance is not easy to deduce. Performance Engineering represents a novel way of addressing these issues using mathematical systems that model the specific relationship between training, adaptation, performance capacity and sport execution. The system is easily applied to most sports using computer software, and has been successfully used by Dr. Skiba to develop precise training programs and race strategies for world champion and world record holding athletes.

Dequantizing the Player Draft Using Extreme Value Theory

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Drafting and trading of players in professional leagues is somewhat unwieldy, especially for high-value picks and players where the value to be transferred is large and indivisible, i.e. quantized. Franchises must deal with complex trading scenarios and empirical Draft Charts that are known to be flawed. Extreme Value Theory gives a solid mathematical basis to the Draft Chart, and we can use it to transform drafting and trading into a free market for talent. The traditional reverse-order draft with lottery is arbitrary and unfair; I propose to replace it with a system based on ‘draft points’ that truly reflects the needs of each franchise.

Hockey Analytics: Derived Statistics are the Beginning not the End

The following article was written by Kevin Mongeon, a principal owner at The Sports Analytics Institute that provides consulting advice to a number of professional hockey teams.

A large portion of the efforts of sports analytics specialists is focused on determining the value of a player, or more specifically, a player’s contribution to winning.  To this end, analysts have created a number of derived statistics that potentially determine a player’s contribution to winning more accurately than traditional statistics.

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Lance Armstrong Panel at SSAC ’13!

Henry Abbott (Senior NBA Writer, ESPN) and Daniel Coyle (New York Times Bestselling Author of Lance Armstrong’s War and The Secret Race) will discuss Lance Armstrong and the doping culture in sports. To learn more about the panel and the panelists, click here.

#SSAChat13 Twitter Chat Recap 1/13/13: NBA & NFL Analytics

Missed our Sloan Sports Analytics Conference Twitter Chat on Monday 1/13? Below are some of the NBA and NFL analytics related questions asked from Twitter and answered by our panel, which included:

Daryl Morey – General Manager of the Houston Rockets, @dmorey
Pablo Torre – Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine, @pablotorre
Evan Silva – Writer, NBCSports.com & Senior Editor, Rotoworld.com, @evansilva

Another thank you to all of our panelists and followers for participating! Continue reading

How to Make It In The Sports Analytics World

The following article was written by Ed Feng, Founder of ThePowerRank.com

Sports is a throbbing passion for so many of us.

The only thing better than watching from the couch is getting a job in the sports world. And with the growth of sports analytics, there is a new way for smart and ambitious people to break into this world. Since numbers now affect every aspect of sports from ticket sales to predicting game outcomes, the opportunities are everywhere. Continue reading

Career opportunities at the conference

Attending this year’s conference will provide unique opportunities for networking and placement in the sports industry. Register now and get access to all the Career Opportunities the conference has to offer including, our resume book that goes to employers, our job board that includes postings from top sports organizations, and our private LinkedIn group. The deadline for inclusion in the resume book is 2/3/13, so you must purchase your ticket before then.

Money Ballsy

Daryl Morey, Houston Rockets GM and MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference Co-Chair, was featured recently in Sports Illustrated. The article provides great insights into Daryl’s role as an NBA executive and the evolution of basketball analytics.

Read the full article here

Catching up with Kirk Goldsberry, 2012 Research Paper Finalist!

The SSAC blog team recently caught up with Kirk Goldsberry, last year’s runner up in the research paper competition.  You can check out his submission, “CourtVision: New Visual and Spatial Analytics for the NBA,” right here.

-        After the 2012 SSAC, what was the response to your research?

The response was great. In fact, the response was so favorable at the conference itself that I actually went home and launched my blog that night. It was really the first time that I had that amount of attention from the media. I took that as a sign that I might be on to something people are interested in. Continue reading

How MIT’s SSAC is Driving the Evolution of Sports Analytics

The following article was written by 2013 SSAC panelist Lou DePaoli, EVP and CMO of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Like many other executives in the Sports and Media industries, the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference (SSAC) is the highlight of my calendar every year. I feel it is hands down the best conference in our industry. Here are a couple of reasons why:

• SSAC is a “5-Tool Player”- it delivers the key elements that an ideal conference should offer: evolving and engaging topics, best-in-class speakers and presenters, valuable networking, excellent planning and logistics, all combined in a great setting. Continue reading

Fourth Downs in the New Overtime: First Possession

The following article was written by 2013 SSAC panelist Brian Burke for his blog Advanced NFL Stats and can be found here.

This may have been the most difficult, challenging analysis I’ve done. No joke. The new OT format is more complex than it seems. There are three distinct ‘game states’ in which a team can find itself:

1. The initial drive of the first possession (A TD wins, a turnover or punt triggers Sudden Death (SD), and a FG triggers State 2.)
2. The team down by 3 now has one possession to match the FG (triggering SD) or score a TD to win.
3. Sudden Death
Continue reading

IPP WOWY Analysis of Crosby / Malkin and Thornton / Marleau

The following article was written by David Johnson at HockeyAnalysis.com on October 29, 2012 and can be found here. Thanks for sharing with us, David!

The other week I wrote about breaking down IPP (Individual Point Percentage, which is individual points divided by number of goals scored while the player was on the ice) into IGP (Individual Goal Percentage) and IFAP (Individual First Assist Percentage). It seems IGP does a decent job of identifying the pure goal scorers and IFAP does a decent job of identifying the pure play makers. I have always been interested in team/line makeup and how to maximize a lines performance so I decide to take a look at WOWY (With or Without You) IPP comparisons for two pairs of extremely talented players who have at times played together and at times played on separate lines the past 5 years. These are Crosby/Malkin and Thornton/Marleau. Let’s start with Crosby/Malkin. Continue reading

Welcome to the 2013 Sloan Sports Analytics Conference Blog!

Hello and welcome from the SSAC Organizing Team!

We are incredibly excited to bring you this blog with fascinating and insightful sports analytics content.  Throughout the year, especially in the run-up to the 2013 Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, we will feature great posts from new and old contributors, student organizers, and innovators within the sports analytics community.  Here, we will examine all aspects of the industry from player and team evaluation to analyzing business practices.

We hope you enjoy all of the upcoming posts. And, if you have a great idea for a post and are interested in contributing to the blog, contact us at blog@mit.edu. We’d love to hear from you!

On behalf of the entire organzing team,

Jon Katz and Jordy DeFelice

Bloomberg: Wall Streeters’ Minds Wanted to Help Jeremy Lin Win NBA Title

The MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference and its co-chair, Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey were featured in a recent article on Bloomberg. The article describes how the Rockets are combing through hundreds of resumes in their search to fill two basketball analytics roles on their staff. Many of the applicants have experience on Wall Street and are now looking to use their quant skills in the world of professional sports.

“Wall Street folks are great at forecasting, at using objective evidence in decision making,” said Morey. “And they’re often overworked and miserable. The smart ones figure out it might not be worth it.”

Furthermore, SSAC is cited as an example of the development of the field of sports analytics in general:

“Analytics are being embraced by a growing audience. Nowhere is that more evident than at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, which debuted in 2007 and is co-chaired by Morey and Jessica Gelman, a Harvard MBA who is vice president of customer marketing and strategy at Kraft Sports Group, which owns the National Football League’s New England Patriots.”

Read the full article here!

Daryl Morey featured on PTI

Sloan Sports Conference Co-Chair and General Manager of the Houston Rockets, Daryl Morey was featured on ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption. Hear Daryl’s take on the Rockets’ recent acquisitions of star guards Jeremy Lin and James Harden below!

2013 MIT Sloan Team Members

Dominic Alvarran, Spencer Anderson, Saeyoon Baik, Juan Benedetti, Jon Bilich, Andy Choo, Will Deng, Kendra Desrosiers, Erik Duhaime, Reggie Farina, Katie Franklin, Carl Fudge, Jose Garcia, Bradley Genser, Mike Hancock, Tyler Heidebrecht, Lauren Herman, David Hill, Jose Holguin-Veras, Tal Itzkovich, Rikhi Jain, Matt Kalmus, William Kang, Evan Kantor, Matia Kostakis, Alessandro Labelli, Ben Levitt, Kate Lewis, Jake Loos, Kristen Mackie, Joe Martin, Tatiana Mendoza, Arvind Nagarajan, Gabriel Ng, Colleen Nicewicz, Andrew Olson, Chris O’Neil, Lior Paritzky, Jeff Prosek, Saurabh Sanghvi, Matt Schlanser, Elizabeth Schlossberg, Elad Shoushan, Dan Thaler, Mike Travalini, Mike Wohl, Mandy Yeung

Competitive Advantage: Sports Business Analytics – 2013

Sports business leaders will present best-in-class examples of data and analytics to enhance business operations. The NBA, NFL, and Orlando Magic each gave 15 minute presentations along with a brief Q&A.

Ticket Sales and Retention: The Power of Data
Amy Brooks – SVP, Team Marketing and Business Operations – NBA

The Pacing of Sales
Corey Mingelgreen, Director of Club Business Development Group – NFL
David Highhill, Club Business Development Group – NFL

Strategic Customer Retention
Anthony Perez, VP of Business Strategy – Orlando Magic

Trade Show Blitz – 2013


To see presentation slides click here

THE TRADE SHOW BLITZ
Each Trade Show company had “4 Good Minutes” to explain their business and how they were revolutionizing the sports industry. Participants competed for a cash prize and bragging rights to be named as the “most promising” start-up at the conference as determined by our panel of judges.

Congratulations to GameChanger as our 2013 winner.

2013 TRADE SHOW EXHIBITORS
BrandMatch Score – Market research tool rating the compatibility between brands and athlete endorsers
Exa-Tech (Sentio) – Camera-based, player tracking and analytics solution
GameChanger – Scorekeeping and stat software for teams via Twilio SMS
J Plus Corp – Suite of mobile app sports tools for coaching
Krossover Intelligence – Metadata film tagging for high school and college level coaches
Pogoseat – Smartphone application enabling fans to upgrade seats during a game
Sports Direct – Customer driven sports content solutions
Sports Tradex – Fantasy sports stock market for trading sports teams and players
(click here for marketing video)
Stattleship – Mobile apps that make stats fun
Team Interval – Internal communication portal for sports teams
West Shore Technologies (SportsBoard) – iPhone and iPad player assessment solutions
Zoomph – Influencer engagement platform

Evolution of the Draft: Lessons from Fantasy

This panel will focus on examining the evolution of fantasy drafting strategies over the years. In particular the panel will discuss different methods of player evaluation which have been used in the past, and those which may be used in the future, to determine player value. Additionally the panel will explore the potential application of these methods of analysis to the professional draft environment to see if there are advantages to be gained by pro teams in utilizing aspects of fantasy strategies in building their organizations through the draft.

Moderator – Kevin Negandhi

(POSTER) A System for Measuring the Neural Correlates of Baseball Pitch Recognition and Its Potential Use in Scouting and Player Development

In this paper we use state-of-the-art multimodal neuroimaging to tease apart the spatio-temporal sequence of neural activity that “goes through a hitter’s mind” when they recognize a baseball pitch. Specifically we utilize electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate the neural networks activated for correct and incorrect pitch classifications. Our previous analysis has shown where in the trajectory of a pitch the hitter’s neural activity correctly discriminates a pitch type (e.g. fastball, curveball or slider). Here, we show that correct classifications correlate with a neural network including both visual and sub-cortical motor areas, likely demonstrating a link between visual identification and the required rapid motor response. Conversely, we find that not only is this activity lacking in incorrect classifications, but that it is instead replaced by prefrontal cortex activity, which has been shown to be responsible for more deliberative conflict resolution. Synthesizing these and other results, we hypothesize the potential uses of this technology in the form of a brain computer interface (BCI) to measure and enhance baseball player performance.

Read full paper here

(POSTER) Does a ‘coattail effect’ influence the valuation of players in the Major League Baseball draft?

This paper introduces the “coattail effect” in the Major League Baseball amateur draft, in which top college baseball prospects draw substantial attention from professional scouts, who become more likely to see the star player’s teammates and more likely to recommend selecting them with later draft picks. Using a sample of 11,540 college players drafted in 1984-2003, strong evidence is found that more players are drafted from a given college team when there is a star teammate present. Estimated effects of the coattail effect on the value players provide to major-league teams are mixed and not very conclusive.

Read full paper here

(POSTER) “Sweet-Spot”: Using Spatiotemporal Data to Discover and Predict Shots in Tennis

In this paper, we use ball and player tracking data from “Hawk-Eye” to discover unique player styles and predict within-point events. We move beyond current analysis that only incorporates coarse match statistics (i.e. serves, winners, number of shots, volleys) and use spatial and temporal information which better characterizes the tactics and tendencies of each player. Using a probabilistic graphical model, we are able to model player behaviors which enables us to: 1) find the factors such as location and speed of the incoming shot which are most conducive to a player hitting a winner (i.e. “sweet-spot”) or cause an error, and 2) do “live in-point” prediction – based on the shots being played during a rally we estimate the probability of the outcome of the next shot (e.g. winner, continuation or error). As player behavior depends on the opponent, we use model adaptation to enhance our prediction. We show the utility of our approach by analyzing the play of Djokovic, Nadal and Federer at the 2012 Australian Tennis Open.

Read full paper here

(POSTER) Using Zone Entry Data To Separate Offensive, Neutral, And Defensive Zone Performance

Separating a hockey player’s offensive and defensive contributions is quite difficult. Offensive skill can lead to increased puck possession and therefore improve statistics aimed at measuring defensive performance such as goals or shots allowed. This challenge can be overcome by measuring goals or shots per possession rather than per game, provided a reasonable estimate of possessions is available. Recording when the puck is brought across the blue line makes this transformation possible, enabling a true assessment of performance in the offensive or defensive zone. Surprisingly, a season of data shows no clear separation between players in shot production or suppression; if offensive stars generate more shots per offensive zone possession than fourth line grinders, the difference is small enough to not show up in a single season’s data. Instead, the team’s shot differential – which has been shown to be a strong predictor of wins – is determined almost entirely in the much less-heralded neutral zone. Neutral zone success involves more than getting extra zone entries; since carrying the puck across the blue line generates more than twice as many shots, scoring chances, and goals as dumping the puck in, gaining the zone with possession is a major driver of success.

Read full paper here

XY Panel: The Revolution in Visual Tracking – Presented by Sportvision

How do you position yourself for success? What makes Kevin Love a better rebounder than Deandre Jordan? Can I really afford to put Manny Ramirez in the outfield if I have a center fielder with the range of Johnny Damon? With the advent and use of missile tracking camera technology, we can now track positional data at an astounding rate of 25 frames per second. From defining the best position for a rebound to tracking the trajectory of Clayton Kershaw’s curve, positional data is revolutionizing sports analytics and providing unprecedented incite and information to make quantifiable decisions on performance analysis. The XY Big Data Panel will discuss how teams are using tracking data to best position themselves for success in coaching decisions, scouting and player evaluations, and even fan experience.

Moderator – Jonah Keri

Data Visualization



This panel will explore how teams across different leagues are using new data visualization technology. From the ticket booth to in-game decisions, panelist will discuss how data visualization techniques are changing the sporting industry. Panelists will also discuss where the field is going and where teams are investing next.

Moderator – Sam Hinkie

Ticketing Analytics – Presented by StubHub



Ticketing is the cornerstone of the sports business. Whether it is defining pricing, packages or ways to improve the customer’s experience, ticketing is experiencing significant technological and analytical growth. Our expert panelists will discuss the future of ticketing (e.g. paperless and dynamic pricing), new technologies, the challenges and opportunities of the secondary market and how ticket sales strategies vary by league and team.

Modereator – Shira Springer

The eSports Explosion

The meteoric rise in the popularity of eSports shattered participation and viewership records in 2012. This panel of experts will discuss how to maintain and continue this astonishing growth. Furthermore, with competition at its fiercest, how can we measure who’s the best? The conversation will also focus on the use of advanced metrics that can be used to determine who exactly is the best gamer in the world.

Moderator – Rod “Slasher” Breslau

Staying on the Field: Injury Analytics

To see presentation slides click here

Medical technology is playing an increasing role in injury prevention and athletic performance. Scientests, doctors and industry experts will explore injury prevention technologies, new medical procedures and technologies influence in sports analytics. As science improves athletic performance, we will explore how these advancements will change the way we experience sports.

Moderator – Stephania Bell

In a Matter of Seconds: The Future of Motorsports

This panel will discuss how improvements in technology and analytics have improved NASCAR and Formula 1 and made the game faster. We will discuss how data helps drivers make adjustments in race, post race and training. We will also discuss how the sports differ in their use of data, and the future of data, such as to increase fan engagement.

Moderator – Scott Burton

Hall of Fame Analytics

To see presentation slides click here

Recent hall of fame voting has raised a lot of questions regarding the use of advanced metrics in judging a player’s career. In baseball especially, the debate has become so heated, distorted, and difficult that there is a conversation around how these numbers can or should influence voting. Similar cases can be made for re-imagining an NBA-only hall of fame, and as football develops more and more of an affinity for these numbers, they might help us reconsider careers and end voting log jams. This elite cast of panelists will discuss and debate the role of data in selecting members of the hall of fame.

Moderator – Chad Millman

Fanalytics – Presented by Precision Market Insights from Verizon

This year’s Fanalytics panel will explore how teams, leagues and partners are creating and using data to understand fan’s behaviors. Whether attending the game or “homegating”, experts in customer data and experience will discuss the opportunities, challenges and analytics behind knowing the fan.

Moderator – Darren Rovell

Big Data: Lessons for Sports – Presented by HP Vertica

There’s no ‘Bill James’ or ‘Billy Beane’ of Big Data – yet. Sports is late to the Big Data party. So how will tomorrow’s top athletes, coaches and sports franchises turn petabytes of ‘motion capture’ and multispectral data into competitive advantage? How will nexgen data scientists supercede today’s ‘stats geeks’? This panel will examine ‘best practice’ from industries outside sport and tomorrow’s transform of athletic performance.

Moderator – Michael Schrage.

Beyond Reason: Sports Labor Negotiations

Labor disputes and lockouts have been too common in professional sports over the last several years. What allows for this to happen? What can be done to prevent future work stoppages? How do analysts quantify the impact of them? Panelists will discuss these issues and more, with a primary focus on the NBA.

Moderator – Deepak Malhotra

Baseball Analytics – 2013

Sabermetrics have played a prominent role in making baseball decisions for the last 10 years. What sort of competitive advantages are still out there in the field of baseball analytics? What new measures are being developed and how are teams using them to distinguish themselves?

Moderator – Lindsay Czarniak

Stronger, Faster, Better: Technology Analytics – Presented by Ropes & Gray LLP

This panel will bring together leading minds at the forefront of innovation in professional sports, analyzing the latest technologies that are being deployed to help make athletes stronger, better, and faster. The panel will consider trends in both physical equipment (e.g., the aerodynamics of a bicycle or a swimming skinsuit) and digital technology (e.g., wearable biometric sensors and GPS trackers) used by elite athletes to gain an edge on their competition in individual and team sports. The panel will also consider the legal and intellectual property implications of developing and launching new technologies in the sports industry. Featured panelists will include Dr. Scott Drawer, Head of Innovation for the Great British Olympic Team, Jordan Rapp, a Professional Triathlete, David McIntosh, a Sports Attorney and Dr. Benoit Vincent, CTO of TaylorMade.

Moderator – Mark McClusky

Staying Relevant: Social Media Analytics

Today, through social media, sports entities can directly engage their fans on a minute-by-minute basis. Social media leaders like the NBA, MANU, ESPN and the Lakers are able to reach up to 30 million customers instantly. This panel will discuss the opportunities and challenges social media has created in Sports. Social media experts will examine how athletes, teams and leagues are creating new marketing concepts and capturing data to know their customer. Additionally, as the line of privacy disappears, we will examine contrasting perspectives on athletes tweeting in games or the impact of controversial Tweets.

Moderator – Gary Belsky

eMarketing: Sports Marketing in the Digital Age

The sports industry’s rabid customers allows teams, leagues and partners to market and engage fans in unique ways. From email marketing to web traffic to social engagement, this panel will examine the evolution of sports marketing. Specifically, industry leaders will discuss how big data, fan behavior, and technological innovation have impacted and created new opportunities for marketing in today’s, continuously changing, digital world.

Moderator – Jessica Gelman

The Value of Sports Sponsorship: Analytics & Impact – Presented by KORE Software

The panel will focus on how organizations from across the sports industry are evaluating and analyzing the value and impact of sponsorship. Importantly, we will explore at the technology that supports the business operations and the future of sports sponsorship.

Moderator – Matt Sebal

Soccer Analytics – Presented by Prozone

Soccer is undergoing a silent revolution due to the ever-increasing use of analytics in the game. Analytics are helping players become better athletes, manager win more games, and owners cut better deals. How has it all happened? Building on last year’s panel, the discussion will to go deeper into the strategies and the analytical tools used on the field, in the locker room as well as in the GM’s office.

Moderator – Marc Stein

Business of Sports

Today, professional sports is a multi-trillion dollar media and entertainment industry. The ten most valuable sports teams in the world are worth a combined $16 billion, according to Forbes. This is an 11% increase from a year earlier despite worldwide economic challenges. Meet the leaders behind the scenes who are at the forefront of defining and creating the business of sports. This panel will cover a wide variety of topics in this rapidly growing industry, including: valuing media rights, driving league growth, building team value, managing atheltes, growing and engaging fans & valuing sponsorship.

Moderator – Jessica Gelman

Beyond Crunching Numbers: How to Have Influence

Why do some analysts have a seat at the decision-making table while others toil away without any real impact? If a good analyst’s job is less than 50% numbers, as some claim, what makes up the rest? We’ll hear insiders talk about organizational culture, structure, politics and other factors that determine an analyst’s influence, and how you can better navigate them.

Moderator – Cade Massey

The Changing Nature of Ownership

Featuring the preeminent innovators and leaders of sports, this panel will discuss the changing nature of sports ownership. Our panelists are shaping the future of sports and have varying goals in what sports will become. Areas of discussion will include franchise valuation, foreign ownership of teams, globalization, media transformation, competitive balance, labor relations, ticketing policies and the impact of analytics in sports.

Moderator – Peter Keating

Lance, Doping, and You: The Power (and Peril) of Win-at-all-Costs Culture



This one-on-one conversation between Henry Abbott and Daniel Coyle will explore the disconnect between the way the public instinctively understands doping and the way it actually works, discuss the myth of the level playing field, and go inside the psychology of the decision to cheat. Furthermore, they will discuss the missing stories of Lance Armstrong’s version of the events and why a surprising number of cyclists wished they would have been more thoroughly policed.

Revenge of the Nerds

This panel will talk about the meteoric rise and dominance of probabilistic thinking using objective data in decision making across all disciplines and the next steps from here. Will there be room for traditional thinking in decision making? What will be the next innovation in decision science? Should we stop pretending to “get along” with the traditional thinking?

It’s Not You, It’s Me

Breaking up is always hard to do, but in the sports world high-profile trades, public disputes over hirings and firings, and media spectacles between players, owners, agents, managers, the front office, and fans have led to some of the most widely known triumphs and disappointments in the world of sports. This panel will explore whether or not, as Jeff Van Gundy asserted at last year’s conference, coaches get fired with too great a frequency, what the data tells us about how high profile sports breakups impact performance on the field, and discuss whether there are lessons to be learned from some of the most well-known makeups and breakups in the world of professional sports.

Moderator – Jackie MacMullan