We are pleased to present a great selection of panels at this year’s MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference:
Presenters: Qaizar Hassonjee (VP Innovation, adidas Wearable Sports Electronics) and Max Reckers (President, MRC31)
Explore the confluence of technology, sports science and sports analytics. Hear how coaches are using insights from the adidas miCoach elite team system to understand the effectiveness of their training. adidas miCoach elite is a cutting edge innovation that tracks athlete movements on-field in real time, helping teams attain and maintain peak physical performance in games and training to compete and win. Athlete monitoring technology is becoming more and more mainstream, and adidas is helping to lead the charge.
As fans are asked to spend more and therefore, expect more, the decision-makers behind the multi-hundred billion dollar industry are seeking new ways to improve the customer experience while driving ROI. Increasingly, analytics has become the differentiator in understanding and improving all facets of the business. Today, every aspect of the business is focused on capturing, understanding and innovating to keep fans engaged and passionate. Learn how leading executives are using data and technology to define and drive change in all areas of the sports business, including: ticketing, sponsorship, game experience, marketing and media/viewership.
The Athlete Analytics panel will uncover the role of technology and analytics in optimizing an athlete’s performance and preventing injuries. New technologies have allowed for better tracking both in terms of physiological performance and in-game strategic execution. With increased innovation in this field, athletes, coaches and team trainers can use data to maximize the effectiveness of their in-game performance, while keeping them stronger, faster and healthier than ever. Panelists providing athlete, technologist, and trainer
perspectives from the NFL and beyond, will offer insights into what technologies and analytical tools currently exist for this purpose and what techniques will soon be available. The evolution of athlete analytics will be discussed along with its impact on the world of elite sport.
Given the enormous head start that baseball had over its peers in the field of analytics, one might think the returns on new research would be diminishing toward zero. However, that’s not the case: the inflow of data is continuous and teams continue to seek innovative new ways to exploit every advantage from every piece of available data. This panel will ask front office executives, analysts and experts on the game’s latest technology where the next frontiers of baseball analytics lie. The discussion will focus on what those in the game wish they had and what those on the sidelines can expect to deliver to uncover the game’s remaining mysteries. Topics will cover both on-field issues, for example the latest advances in visual tracking, and off-field issues, such as the controversial research trying to quantify alleged intangibles and clubhouse chemistry.
Increasingly, GMs and coaches are employing advanced metrics and statistical techniques for scouting, drafting, trades, free agent acquisition and in-game strategy. Basketball analytics, utilized both on and off-court, bring teams marginal gains that in aggregate translate to competitive advantages. This panel, featuring NBA front-office staff, coaches and analysts, will explore a variety of crucial topics in the field. Where have we seen the biggest impact of analytics in the last 12 months? What are the emerging statistical tools gaining momentum? How does management measure the success of these approaches? What has been the effect of having player-tracking cameras in every arena? And what are the expectations and emerging trends for basketball analytics in the future?
The most popular game on the planet has also been one of the earliest adopters of sophisticated analytics, embracing innovative thinking such as x-y tracking, detailed video analysis, GPS, biometrics and game theory. With the World Cup coming up in the summer, this panel will focus on the latest analytical techniques used by the best soccer teams in the world to help them optimize scouting and player acquisition, on-field tactics and physiological performance. With expertise from the English Premier League, Italy’s Serie A and Major League Soccer, this discussion will go deeper into the strategies and the analytical tools used on the pitch, in the changing room, and in the Manager’s office.
From advanced player statistics to real-time video, social media, x-y tracking, and biometrics, big data is everywhere in sports. How can sports organizations harness this data in making better decisions regarding player personnel and in-game strategy as well as marketing and fan experience? How do sports teams collect and use big data and how will this data change sports? Meet some of the leaders of the big data movement in sports. This panel will cover how big data is “changing the game” for sports teams and organizations.
With salary caps, drafts, revenue sharing, and other measures, the NBA and NFL are designed to be level playing fields. Some teams have defied the laws of competitive balance by consistently delivering elite levels of performance both on and off the field. The stretches of dominance achieved by teams such as the 1990’s Chicago Bulls, the 2000’s Los Angeles Lakers and the recent New England Patriots will be the focus of this panel. The success of these teams can be attributed to a commitment to the best possible product on the field and court, combined by continually implementing innovative business strategies. We will learn from two sporting pioneers about how to build the foundations of sports franchises that not only achieve sustained success – but become dynasties.
From team valuations to media rights to ticket prices to player salaries, every aspect of the sports industry has been super-sized in the past decade. With insatiable fan interest, new channels to communicate rising yearly and technology enabling closer connections with
players, teams, schools and leagues, the race is on to defi ne the future of sports. Whether it is harnessing the power of technology, finding competitive advantages through advanced analytics or monetizing fan loyalty, sports has become a driver of innovation. Meet the leading industry executives who are setting the vision in professional and college sports. Topics in this panel will include: the future of sports business, the game day experience, the impact of technology (e.g. wifi, social media etc), the role of analytics, and leading change in the sports industry.
On February 1, 2014, Adam Silver took over as the fifth Commissioner of the NBA, assuming the role from one of the most successful Commissioners in professional sports history, David Stern. In this fascinating one-on-one interview with Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Silver will reflect on his 20+ years in “the League” and discuss his vision for the future of the NBA, including topics such as growing the game globally, the relationship between the NBA and the NCAA, administering drafting and free agency, collective bargaining, and competitive balance. Also to be covered are commercial issues such as fan experience, broadcast rights, and the evolution of the NBA brand.
Moderator: Jeff Bennett (Sr. Director, ESPN Stats & Information Group)
Panelists: Dean Oliver (Director, ESPN Production Analytics), Alok Pattani (Analytics Sr. Specialist, ESPN Production Analytics), Brad Edwards (ESPN College Football Insider) and Chris Fallica (Sr. Researcher, ESPN College GameDay)
After the 2014 season, four teams will be selected and seeded for the inaugural College Football Playoff. This panel will discuss some of the challenges the selection committee will face and give examples of ESPN’s experience with analytically ranking college football teams. The audience will have a chance to participate in evaluating résumés of actual FBS teams from the past 10 seasons.
Increasingly, achieving success in the National Football League is driven by an organization’s ability to incorporate data and analytics into daily operations. The football analytics panel will delve into this statistical revolution by asking accomplished panelists from the front office and on the field how analytics influences at-the-line calls, adjustments/reads, in-game decision making, personnel evaluation, coaching hires and contract negotiations. From personnel to coaching to administration to players, all views will be represented as we explore the opportunities and challenges of applying analytics to America’s most popular sport.
As technology has become more sophisticated so too have the processes by which we evaluate sporting performance – sports analytics. If books such as “Moneyball” have taught us anything, it’s that sports analytics can make a huge difference. Meet fi ve professors who are leading the charge in teaching sports analytics around the world. Hear why they believe this topic is so important to teach, the problems they face in designing and teaching these curriculums, and what they hope to inspire by doing so.
Gambling analytics continues to be an incendiary topic, seen quite differently by professionals, self-titled “professionals”, the gaming industry, and masses of weekend gamblers alike. Access to almost unlimited information as well as to “legal” online betting channels has changed the dynamics of betting in many ways and promises to bring both opportunities and limitations to the industry moving forward. The Gambling Analytics panel will cover the topics fans have come to love and expect such as odds-making practices with a “behind the book” perspective. Discussion will also center on where the industry is headed with developments such as legalized fantasy sports gambling and the future of online gambling/legalized sports gambling outside of Nevada.
The panelists at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference come from backgrounds as different as the sports that they are advancing every day. Some stepped into the job straight from the locker room, some from the board room, still others from the classroom. But what do they all have in common? First, they all brought to the game a different way of thinking that provided specific value. And, just as important, they all were able to get that talent noticed by an employer, which turned an idea into an execution and turned an interest into a career in sports. The 2014 career panel, presented by KORE Software, will provide a lively discussion not only about what skills will be vital to the next generation of sports business and analytics talent, but also how to make sure your ideas are heard and your unique value identified.
The Olympics. The World Cup. The Super Bowl. The Boston Marathon. These global sporting events have the potential to create a lasting legacy to the hosting community, boosting the economic, political, and social climates. They provide strong incentive to governments to invest significant resources as the whole world is watching, but are they worth it in the long run? The panel will take a critical look at the effort involved in successfully executing a major sporting event as well as return on investment in terms of driving change for host communities and economies. The discussion will focus on the bidding and hosting process, and the impacts on the host city or country.
The use of analytics in hockey is at a well-publicized crossroads within the larger hockey community. Publicly acknowledged now more than ever before, in-depth statistical analysis has permeated the front offices of NHL teams, the lineups of junior hockey organizations, and evaluation techniques for players at all top levels. Fans are armed with more data and metrics to follow the game than ever before. The rink, however, still remains a less-than-forgiving climate for perfected analytical judgment and implementation. This year’s panel will be a wide-ranging discussion of topics such as creating buy-in for analytics within the organization, drafting/player projection, salary cap analytics, pre-game and in-game statistical usage, and the variation of analytics usage at different levels (junior, college, pro, Olympic).
Is the mid-range jumper the worst shot in the NBA? What makes certain knuckleballers more effective than others? Is going for every 4th down a feasible strategy? In-Game Innovations: Genius or Gimmick? seeks to bring together pioneers in baseball, basketball and football whose unconventional approaches are often the subject of conversations among fans. The panel will cover topics pertaining to the thought process and consequences of pursuing unorthodox strategies on and off the playing field within the high-pressure areas of coaching and the front office.
One of the most important relationships in professional team sports is that of the general manager and head coach. How do these two work together to achieve the goals of the organization and win on the field? How do their roles complement and conflict with each other? Inside the War Room offers a rare look into one such relationship. The Atlanta Falcons’ highly acclaimed GM and Head Coach duo of Thomas Dimitroff and Mike Smith will discuss how they align their organization for success on and off the field.
For years, media pundits have debated the merits of replacing human referees with “machines” that can fl awlessly call balls and strikes in baseball, decide if tennis balls are in and whether soccer balls have crossed the goal line. This panel will analyze how advances in technology and analytics are reshaping the relationship between referees, players, leagues and fans. As technology captures more and more data regarding the location and movement of the ball and players, both leagues and analysts are making use of the data to put the referee under increasing scrutiny. This panel will look at the use of data analytics in “real-time” on-fi eld situations as well as “after the fact” analysis of referee decisions.
Presenters: Dan Singer (Director, McKinsey & Company), Steve Pamon (Head of Sports & Entertainment Marketing, JPMorganChase) and Sam Zussman (Managing Director, IMG Performance)
Leagues, teams, and professional sports organizations face a much tougher sponsorship marketplace than they did even five years ago. Although spending on sponsorships continues to grow at 6%, there is a proliferation of competition from college sports, new sports entities, arts, music, and community-based causes and competitions. Top performers in sales organizations perform 3-4 times better than bottom-quintile sellers, but typically business leaders lack objective tools to understand what drives the superior
performance. From our work with over 40 large sales forces across multiple industries, we have developed Sales DNA, which identifies statistically-significant characteristics of top sellers. Our panel will discuss Sales DNA in pro-sports and how sponsorship sales organizations can hire and develop high-performing teams for greater returns.
Presenters: Bob Bowman (President & CEO, MLBAM) and Joe Inzerillo (SVP, Content Technology / CTO, MLBAM)
Join MLB Advanced Media as it publicly introduces new in-ballpark infrastructure designed to provide the first-ever complete and reliable measurement of every play on the field and answer previously unanswerable analytics questions. This exclusive announcement also will include an overview of how MLBAM continues to implement various fan experience technologies, including iBeacon and widespread connectivity, to ensure MLB ballparks are crucibles of technology.
More than 70 major American professional sports franchises have changed owners or locations in the last decade. Many teams find themselves changing influential personnel as they look to head in a different direction on an annual basis. Managing a franchise in transition is one of the toughest challenges in professional sports. Whether due to the attrition of age or financial turmoil, an owner will almost inevitably be faced with such a challenge. A transition tests the mettle of ownership as the fan base may lose enthusiasm for a team that is years away from championship contention or when a star player is traded away. Sometimes, local governments, financial instability, or new stadium/arena projects can lead to teams being bought and sold, or even moving to a new city. The challenges posed to ownership teams, executives, general managers and leagues by these critical inflection points in the development of a franchise will be highlighted in this panel. The panelists will examine the strategies used, key resources needed and lessons learned along the way.
Tour de France winners, Olympians, World Series champions, Hall of Famers, men and women, even high school athletes have succumbed to the temptation and power of performance enhancing drugs. In fact, over the past decade, nearly every sport has been enthralled in a doping scandal. Why are these athletes risking their careers and health? What needs to change? Athlete behaviors or societal expectations for what is acceptable to reach peak performance? Better testing of PEDs? Bonnie Ford will lead a discussion of these issues with Travis Tygart and Tyler Hamilton. Both men have played crucial roles in the investigation of the most notorious doping controversy of our generation – the Lance Armstrong scandal – and continue to lead the crusade against doping. Learn firsthand from the experts about the impact of PEDs on professional sport and what the governing bodies need to do to better delineate the boundaries of fair competition.
Presenters: Frank Wheeler (SAP), Oscar Fernandez (MLB), Asheesh Kinra (Washington Redskins), Mary Joe Fernandez (WTA) and Ken DeGennaro (NBA)
Learn how organizations such as the MLB, NBA, the Washington Redskins, and the WTA are using real-time analytic solutions from SAP to maximize team and player performance, engage fans like never before, and grow revenues.
Led by international data visualization guru, Professor Edward Tufte of Yale University, this discussion will take innovative methods of “seeing” data and apply them to sports.
1. Effective, bright-eyed ways to show and explain sports.
2. How to make smart, credible, actionable inferences based sports data analysis.
When athletics meets entrepreneurship the results can be game changing. The 2014 SSAC “Starting a Sports Business” panel examines what it takes to start, build, brand/rebrand and grow a leading organization in sports. Panelists will provide unique perspectives on multiple segments of the industry including: apparel, technology, athlete management, media, college athletics, retail, and venture investing. The panel will discuss key parts of the business development including market entry, product development, brand building, financing, IP, business transitions and M&A.
Presenter: Jonathan Lesser (Sr. Director of eCommerce Revenue, StubHub)
As today’s consumers enjoy unprecedented access and choice (and attention spans continue to shorten), successful companies are leveraging analytics to create more value for their customers and capture a greater share of wallet. In the Sports and Entertainment industry, many content holders have been slower to adapt because of their built in fan base. This presentation takes a look at how StubHub and other companies are tackling business challenges while also creating innovative solutions for customers; it also
provides insights into how live entertainment providers can leverage this approach to create experiences that deliver increased value to fans, while also adding revenue streams and long term financial stability.
The media rights landscape has been a boon for networks, teams and league, but is there a game-changer coming? The biggest players and innovators from all sides will discuss evolving media rights structure and developing new media channels by addressing shifting
customer demands and managing the fi nancial risk/reward. The panel blends numerous viewpoints - local and national entities are represented and there is a presence of team, league and network employees. Online media will be a huge focus with discussion on how one company got to the top of the online live sports marketplace and how another giant is looming with the chance to drastically alter the market.
This workshop-style session will examine how both sides of a contract negotiation – the team and the player – prepare for negotiations and how analytics are used in the process. Across contract re-signings, free agent acquisitions, and draft pick signings, front offices are trying to structure deals that are attractive enough to sign the player while also maximizing the value they get as a franchise and allowing them the flexibility to make other moves. Making compelling salary offers while avoiding the winner’s curse is a challenge that GMs and owners are constantly considering. These experts will examine the role of GMs, analytics groups, players, and agents in the negotiation process.