Research Papers

2015 Research Paper Competition

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The deadline for submitting abstracts for the 2015 research paper competition has now passed. If you have any questions regarding your submission, please contact


Every year, the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference Research Paper Competition brings exciting and innovative insight and changes to the way we analyze sports. With submissions on topics ranging from the spelling bee to rugby, basketball, and more, we represent the largest forum for groundbreaking research in sports. The Research Paper Competition is an incredible opportunity to reach a diverse audience while still contributing to the advancement of analytics in sports.

Previous year’s top papers were featured on Numbers Never Lie, mentioned and re-run in publications across the world (including TIME, ESPN the Magazine, and The New York Times), and captured the attention of representatives from numerous professional sports teams. We are looking forward to your submission for the 2015 Sloan Sports Analytics Conference Research Paper Competition.

Submission Guidelines

All submissions will be reviewed during one review period of full paper submissions over the following timeline:


Tuesday 9/30 11:59 PM Abstract submissions due
Wednesday 10/15 11:59 PM Full paper requests submitted
Friday 12/12 11:59 PM Full paper submissions due (if selected)
Decisions forthcoming Finalists and posters announced
Friday 2/13 5:00 PM Submission of poster (if selected)
Tuesday 2/24 5:00 PM Submission of presentation (if selected)


Competition Format

All submitted abstracts will be entered into the first of three rounds of the Research Papers competition:

  • Round 1 – Abstract Submission – Closed 9/30
  • Round 2 – Full Paper Submission – Opens 10/15, Closes 12/12
  • Round 3 – Final Presentation Submission – Opens 1/15, Closes 2/24

If an abstract is selected to advance to Round 2, authors will be asked to submit a full manuscript for evaluation. If a manuscript is selected to advance to Round 3, authors will be notified of their status as either a poster or presentation finalist, and then asked to submit a poster or a presentation to the conference.

Sports Tracks: This year we will be introducing a track system to the research paper competition. All submissions will be entered into one of four tracks based on the content of the abstract. The tracks are:

Basketball – All submissions related to the sport of basketball
Baseball  – All submissions related to the sport of baseball
Other Sports –  All submissions related to other sports
Business of Sports – Submissions related to the business of owning, managing, or marketing a sport, or to new technology or ideas which could change the sports industry

The selection committee will determine the best research paper in each track. Eight finalists will be selected and invited to present at the conference, including the four track winners and four “wild card” finalists that can be selected from any track. The finalists invited to present at the conference will be eligible for the grand prize of $20,000.

Poster Competition

All posters selected for the conference will be entered into a competition for Best Poster, determined by a fan vote during the weekend of the conference. The winner will receive $1,000.

Presentation Finals

Authors invited to speak at the conference will present in front of an industry panel and will be judged by a panel of experts. The winner will receive the grand prize of $20,000 and the runner-up will receive a prize of $10,000.

Rights and Permissions

All authors retain ownership rights to the research and the right to publish the research after the conference. Upon submission, authors grant access to 42 Analytics to make their research available for public viewing online and for conference use for the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.

Authors are responsible for obtaining permission from third parties to reprint copyrighted information such as data, tables, or figures that may be protected by copyright.

Evaluation of Submissions

The conference seeks submissions that report research pertaining to the use of analytics in the sports industry. We are open to contributions ranging from evaluating players and game strategies, to examining the success factors for sports business.

In the abstract and full paper submission process, research will be evaluated on but not necessarily limited to the following:

     – Novelty of research – Does the research provide interesting insight into new models or challenge existing beliefs?
     – Academic rigor / validity of model – Are the methodologies of the model and results fundamentally sound and appropriate?

In evaluating presentation finalists at the 2015 SSAC, the above factors will be supplemented by the following criteria, as judged by an industry panel of executives from team management and sports business operations:

     – Application – What are the applications or potential applications of the insights from the research?
     – Interest / impact – Is there significant interest in the proposed question in the field of study or the community at large? What are the benefits or impact of the model or application?

All abstracts and papers will be evaluated by the academic review committee. The review committee consists of the Research Paper team as well as academic professors and experts from top universities in fields including Statistics, Information Sciences, and Economics. The industry panel that makes the final winner selection will make its decision on the basis of the paper and the presentation at the 2015 Conference.

Conflict of Interest Policy

Our objective is to ensure an unbiased evaluation of submissions throughout the process. We are aware that members of the evaluation committee may have had relationships with authors who have submitted papers. When possible, potential conflicts of interest are avoided by minimizing the review of research by the following:

– Authors who have collaborated with the reviewer on previous submissions
– Current or former students who worked with the reviewer
– Colleagues from the same organization
– Any other previous relationships with the author that may prevent an unbiased evaluation of the paper

All potential conflicts of interest will be managed as best as possible while still maintaining the quality of the review process. Final reviews will occur without knowledge of the names of the authors.


Please direct all questions regarding the 2015 SSAC Research Paper Competition to

2014 Research Paper Finalists