As the gap in revenue and funding has grown among Division I athletic programs, there has been a call for reform by the NCAA and in extreme cases, an abolition of the NCAA. We have already seen minor shifts with the change from the BCS to a playoff system and the effects of lawsuits brought by ex-players that have questioned the definition of a student-athlete. The NCAA reform panel debates the merits of various viewpoints and discuss the consolidation of conferences into the Power 5 haves and the smaller school have-nots, the allocation of revenue/control to players and the future of the NCAA.
As basketball analytics have become more common and fully accepted across teams, leagues and levels, the uses are extending. Today, beyond assessing players’ abilities and the success of certain lineups, we’re witnessing analytics impacting the formulation of teams and the strategy of the game itself. From identifying the most valuable shots to deciding when to change the tempo to lengthening player longevity, we are in the golden age of basketball analytics. This panel, featuring current and former players, coaches and front-office staff, discusses how we can continue to delve deeper into basketball analytics.
Everyone loves an underdog. Unfortunately, teams that are heavy underdogs rarely win. Those that do win have exhibited traits and strategies that enabled them to beat the odds. Jordan Brenner and Peter Keating have helped to define the characteristics that enable underdogs to succeed. The ‘Anatomy of an Upset’ panel examines how teams, players, and coaches have been able to design high volatility strategies, how to gain buy-in to implement them in games, and then, crucially, how to build on upsets and sustain lasting success.
More data is available to baseball teams than ever before as a result of the work of MLBAM, broadcasting stakeholders and private enterprises. With the new data available, teams are facing strategic decisions on prioritizing the data for the organization and visually presenting the content for executives, coaches and players. This panel asks front office executives, analysts and experts how teams are prioritizing and utilizing current data available in creative or unorthodox ways for developing sustainable real-time and long-term organization strategies. Topics cover both on-field real-time decisions, like bunting to beat the increasing number of defensive shifts, and off-field long-term planning decisions, such as the implications of the expanding strike zone in recent years.
Gambling’s place in American sports has changed over the decades. What used to be considered taboo has now become a driver of interest and ratings and has begun to change gambling’s role in the sports world. Network television broadcasts mention gambling lines during games, media giants dedicate websites to gambling analysis and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver even took to the New York Times to write an op-ed about the subject. League views on the issue are beginning to change as they consider (with varying degrees of reluctance) the inevitable – gambling drives ratings and, if regulated properly, it may have a place in sports. It’s not just the sports leagues (and companies whose revenue relies on them) that are starting to notice. Gambling has become such a large industry that states such as New Jersey are now pushing for what has always been a Las Vegas game – legalized, regulated and taxed sports gambling. So, what are the implications of this inevitable trend? This discussion explores the trends and potential implications of broadly legalized sports gambling, exploring its effect on local economies, law and regulation and the leagues themselves … all while maintaining the integrity of the games we love.
The rapidly changing landscape of sports business has impacted how organizations create and capture value. From advancements in analytics to more effective marketing and sponsorship efforts, organizations are constantly seeking to innovate and create competitive advantages while strengthening their brands. Meet the leading industry executives who are responsible for shaping and adapting their respective organizations to define the future of sports. Topics in this panel include: future areas of revenue generation, the role of daily fantasy, prospects for international expansion, potential gambling integration, opportunities for deeper player/community involvement, evolving sponsorship partnerships, the role of analytics and challenging the status quo in the sports industry.
The 2015 career panel, presented by KORE Software, provides a lively discussion on the skills vital in today’s sports industry and what analytical leaders are looking for in talent. Hear the unique stories of our panelists who have taken a variety of paths to enter and succeed in sports.
In the salary-cap era, player evaluations and projections have become vital to achieving sustained success as an organization. In the search for a competitive advantage, a number of NHL teams made a splash last off-season by hiring several top names in the analytics community. With many teams now publically testing the waters on data-driven decision making, this panel discusses the different approaches teams take with respect to using analytics throughout the organization. Specific topics include: drafting/player projection, player development, pre-game and in-game statistics (conventional vs. advanced), TOI combinations, and others.
For the first time in over 22 years, Major League Baseball welcomes a new commissioner. Rob Manfred takes the reins of a league that has enjoyed labor peace for 20 years, an explosion in lucrative media deals, an era of new stadium construction, reforms to the league’s playoff structure, a growing playoff pool and record attendance figures. Seasoned MLB journalist Brian Kenny interviews the new commissioner on how he intends to build on the legacy of his predecessor Bud Selig while tackling the issues of player health, pace of play, changing viewer demographics and global marketing initiatives.
On the eve of the 2015 MLS season, the league’s 20th, Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl sits down with MLS Commissioner Don Garber to discuss the state of the league. This year introduces two expansion teams in New York and Orlando and a handful of MLS-owned development teams in USL. Nonetheless, Chivas USA ceased operations and the League announced a new strategy for Los Angeles market with LAFC, which starts play in 2017, along with Atlanta. As the reach broadens geographically, the league enters year one of a new media rights deal with ESPN, Fox Sports and Univision. Meanwhile it will be a new era for labor relations in MLS, as the 2015 season will be the first under a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, agreed upon just days before the season started. Commissioner for the past 15 seasons, Don Garber shares his perspective on the league’s history under his stewardship and his vision for its future.
In the age of big data, teams, leagues and the businesses that support them are using social media and big data to find fans of their teams in partnerships with big data/social media companies, such as Google, Ticketmaster and LinkedIn. The attribution models associated with social media and digital activities are helping teams understand the most effective way of marketing to generate ticket purchases and grow other parts of the business. Our panelists are the leading thinkers and adopters of using data to find and engage the sports fan across all mediums.
With improvements in consumer technology and the rise of fan-facing analytics, teams are finding new and innovative ways to add more value to the in-stadium experience. This panel looks at what new technologies teams are designing their future stadiums around (e.g., green designs for lower operating costs, rumble seats or lightning-fast Wi-Fi), what innovations are on the horizon to improve fan experience and how fans might further engage with real-time player analytics. The panel discusses whether the future of the in-stadium experience depends on further connecting fans to the game at hand, predicting their every need or offering the fun and exciting game experience with the same convenience of watching from home.
In his article about Shane Battier in the New York Times, "The No-Stats All-Star,” Michael Lewis states that “each [sport] now supports a subculture of smart people who view it not just as a game to be played but as a problem to be solved.” Battier is one of the innovators of this on the court, where he consistently used analytics data to better his game. Battier, Jeff Van Gundy and Daryl Morey formed a team that used data analysis for the Houston Rockets. The team took data from complex numbers to meaningful film evaluation to wins on the court. This panel explores how analytics has developed and what the future holds.
Everyday sports fans, especially those from the millennial generation, have come to demand and appreciate more data-driven sports analysis. As a result, major sports leagues, media outlets and live broadcasts have incorporated data analytics to fulfill fan demand. Given the shift in fan preferences, sports journalism, as a whole, has changed. The modern-day journalist needs narrative and quantitative skill. This panel explores what sports journalists (new and old), media executives and analysts have observed in sports journalism and where they see the genre moving in the future. Topics will cover the increased understanding of sports analytics by everyday fans, the new fan expectations set for sports journalists and how an analytical readership alters the demands of sports journalists.
The media rights landscape has been a success for networks, teams, leagues, players and owners, but what does the future hold for the industry? While media rights have grown to a billion dollar industry, there are more stakeholders than ever vying for a piece of the pie. The Future of Sports Media will be determined by how the game is consumed, who consumes it and the ever-changing expectation of the fan on the game day. This panel of experts at the top of their industries discusses the changing scenery of sports media and how media will be delivered to fans in the future.
This session examines all sides of a contract negotiation – the team, the player, the coach and the agent – and how they each prepare for negotiations and how analytics is used in the process. As “gut-feel” negotiation is replaced by fact-based research and decisions, the landscape and manipulation of data is a key driver of defining value. Across contract re-signings, free agent acquisitions, draft pick signings, sponsorship contracts and labor negotiations, all stakeholders are pushing for the best deal. While arriving at the perfect contract is an art, all parties must use science and analytics to make their final decisions. These experts discuss their thought processes, past experiences, and considerations for preserving future negotiations.
Sports analytics has undeniably added to the sports conversation. Good analytics though is typically about grounding stories in reality, and sometimes the magical moments in sports can be harmed by the harsh light of reality - data can get in the way of a good story. Whether it is poor uses of data that reduce data sets to ridiculous and meaningless splits or good analytics that bring skepticism to a truly fun story, analytics has the potential to inform, but also reduce the joy of sports. This conversation delves into what analytics is and isn’t, as well as how analytics can help and hurt a good story and the fan experience.
Learn how organizations such as Duke University, FC Bayern and others are using real-time analytics solutions from SAP to make every team and athlete better, engage fans like never before and open new revenue streams.
Join the National Football League as they share insight into the league’s groundbreaking Next Gen Stats initiative which includes the first-ever real-time player tracking system in sports powered by Zebra Sports Solutions. Learn how this technology has recast the paradigm in sports, and get an exclusive view of how Next Generation Stats will revolutionize the way fans experience and consume the game, empower coaches, scouts and player personnel executives with unprecedented precise, real-time analytics and insights and dramatically enhance broadcast and storytelling. Hear more about the NFL’s vision for the future of Next Generation Stats and how they are pioneering meaningful innovation in sports data and analytics through their trailblazing partnership with Zebra Sports Solutions.
The Sports Entrepreneurs and New Frontiers panel explores how two veterans in the sports industry entered sports, achieved business success and continue to revolutionize the intersection of sports and business. Wyc Grousbeck and Michael Rubin discuss their passion for sports and how each became an owner of an NBA franchise. From investing in companies to creating a company and developing a brand, the panel explores their unique paths into sports and plans to sustain future success.
In today’s sports, athletes are stronger and faster, the game is quicker and collisions are more ferocious. However, some athletes are playing longer. How? Keeping players healthy and on the field has become a major focus for teams, athletes, and trainers. Therefore, the prevention of injuries has become a large focus of new technologies, data analytics and athlete training. This panel discusses the role of modern technology and training in preventing injuries, detecting early warning signs and improving overall performance. Panelists evaluate how athletes, doctors and trainers have altered their training programs and preparation to focus on understanding root cause issues, as well as injury prevention. Additionally, panelists examine the intersection of analytics, technology and training to keep athletes on the field performing at elite levels for a longer period of time.
The new college football playoff system impacts much more than how teams are selected to vie for the national championship. It is forcing programs to reconsider their scheduling strategy, how to train for facing a broader variety of teams, and which types of players they recruit. In “The Formula to Win,” we hear from college football experts about what they’ve learned over the course of year one, how they expect the game to evolve going forward, and what innovative technologies are helping teams gain an edge.
An all-star cast of seasoned SSAC veterans discuss how analytics has changed the way they view major sports and where we will see changes next. Topics include improvements to rules and formats (e.g., ways to speed up the game), changes to the way coaches and teams need to think about building and employing rosters, what new research needs to be done and what will be the buzz in sports in five years.
Technology and the availability of data have changed the way football teams operate, prepare, draft and strategize. Franchises looking for a competitive advantage have embraced statistical analysis to provide valuable insights into roster construction, gameday preparation, in-game strategy and post-game analysis. This panel examines the latest technological trends in football and explores how teams have used analytics to redefine key metrics. What are the evaluation analyses beyond the stat sheet? Is momentum real? And if so, is it measurable? How should we evaluate coaches and GM’s in today’s analytical world? Should Pete Carroll have called a run on 2nd down with 26 seconds left in the Super Bowl? Should Bill Belichick have called a timeout?
Data analytics has been engrained in soccer for years, but has not garnered the same publicity as baseball and basketball in the United States. However, in the aftermath of the World Cup this past summer and the German National Team’s highly touted use of SAP’s data analytics tool in aiding their ascent to become world champions, soccer analytics is a hot topic. This panel will focus on new innovations in analytical tools used for pre-game scouting and formation decision-making, in-game decision-making and real time adjustments, along with physiological tools to maximize performance and minimize injuries. Drawing on a vast knowledge base from both Europe and the United States, the discussion will explore how these tools can be used to win championships and outperform the competition both on the pitch and off.
The past five years have seen a rapid acceleration of ticketing models and use of data to understand customer behavior. This panel brings together industry experts to discuss the ways in which they are applying mobile ticketing, implementing dynamic pricing, using technology and altering season ticket policies to address the effect of secondary markets and new competitors in the market.
Franchise value has been increasing substantially in recent years – evidenced by Forbes’ recent valuation of NBA franchises that showed an overall increase of 72 percent since last year, with three teams valued over $2 billion and eight more teams valued over $1 billion. The disconnect between published franchise valuations and actual purchase prices continues to be magnified as ownership structures have migrated from wealthy individuals to groups, providing the resources to bid higher and higher in a market of limited supply. Further compounding the issue is the unique economics and business of a sports franchise and its players that further clouds the ability to clearly understand a franchise’s value. With a group of leading experts in valuation from the realm of academia and industry, along with franchise owners, this panel explores the key issues and insights to valuing franchises using analytical tools. Topics for the panel include: valuation differences across sports, measuring the impact of player contracts, point in time valuation during a franchise’s lifecycle and quantitative versus qualitative impacts in franchise valuation.
The past two years have seen a boon in the interest, adoption and use of wearable technology. The advent of teams using wearable technology and player tracking affects how teams make in-game coaching decisions and alters strategy regarding athlete training and player management. As more companies enter the space, the advantages and value are changing in real time. With the increasing amount of data available, this technology and how it is used is at the front line of the new wave and opportunity in team evaluation and management. Panelists discuss the differences between technology platforms and multiple use cases, and provide perspective on how information is being used today and will be used in the future.