Jeff Luhnow

Q&A: Astros GM Jeff Luhnow on Analytics, Communication, Leverage, and More

MIT : September 15, 2014 9:00 am : 2015, Blog, News

We kick off our series of Q&A’s leading up to the 2015 Sloan Sports Analytics Conference with a two-time SSAC panelist who has built one of the most analytically focused front offices in baseball.

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Welcome to the 2015 Sloan Sports Analytics Conference blog!

MIT : September 5, 2014 8:46 am : 2015, Blog, News

blog-kickoffWe are excited to kick off this year’s edition of the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference blog, and we promise many new offerings for 2015.

Planning for the 9th Annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference began shortly after last year’s very successful event. We have a dedicated team working to make this year’s conference better than ever. Building on some of the themes from past conferences, our panelists and presenters will provide expert insights on topics related to advanced analytics, data visualization, athlete wellness and performance, fan and stadium experiences, and much more.

Two new initiatives that we wanted to highlight for 2015:

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2014 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference: A Review Of Day 1

MIT : March 1, 2014 8:22 pm : 2014, Blog

By: Patrick Rishe, Professor in Economics at Webster University, and Founder/Director of Sportsimpacts. 

On Friday at Boston’s Hynes Convention Center, I attended Day 1 of the 8th Annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.

My biggest takeaways:

• Analytics can obviously be useful, but coaches and players prefer it only as a supplemental tool.  Video instruction is a more preferred learning tool for those that play and coach the game;

• Getting older team personnel to buy-in still proves to be challenging; more »


Wanted: Sports Executive with Analytics Experience

MIT : February 18, 2014 1:18 am : 2014, Blog, Uncategorized

By: Scott Batchelor, Marketing Manager, SAS 

Over the last few years, the main qualifications for a general manager of a sports team have changed dramatically. Gut feel and experience have been replaced by analytical insight and predictive modeling. If Billy Beane started the trend with his Moneyball approach to team building, GMs like Daryl Morey (Houston Rockets) and Theo Epstein (Chicago Cubs) have taken analytics from cool to essential. more »


How We Made Nadal’s Interactive Game Tree

MIT : January 31, 2014 2:58 am : 2014, Blog, Uncategorized

By Damien Saunder, Geospatial Designer, Esri

Late last year we published an interactive game tree celebrating Rafael Nadal’s historic 2013 season. The Game Tree allows users to visually explore how easily, or not, Nadal won each of his 666 service games in the Masters 1000 Tournaments, Grand Slams and World Tour Finals he played in 2013. This rare point-by-point summary shows where Nadal’s history breaking season was won and rarely lost. more »


Interview with Grantland’s Zach Lowe

MIT : January 23, 2014 1:12 am : 2014, Blog

With the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference fast approaching, the student organizing team will be occasionally conducting interviews with featured panelists and moderators. This week we are honored to introduce Zach Lowe, head NBA writer at Grantland, and moderator of this year’s Basketball Analytics panel. Zach seamlessly blends analytics, detail and wit in his writing, making it easy to understand why he is one of the most well-respected basketball journalists out there. He was gracious enough to take 20 minutes of his time to talk to us about his background, experience at the conference, and how often he watches Kings games.

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Exploring Consistency in Professional Sports: How the NFL’s Parity is Somewhat of a Hoax

MIT : January 13, 2014 12:22 am : 2014, Blog

By Michael Lopez, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Biostatistics at Brown University

The term parity is familiar to any sports fan.

Defined by Google as “the state or condition of being equal,” parity in professional sports implies that the best teams in a league are not substantially better than the worst teams.

Prior academic research is flush with studies of how the four major North American sports leagues and divisions of professional soccer want, need, and strive for parity. Parity leads to less predictable outcomes and has been shown to increase game attendance and league revenues. Further, parity was the primary goal for the implementations of revenue sharing in Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Football League (NFL), the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the National Hockey League (NHL). more »

Swapping David Akers for Phil Dawson: Revisiting Field Goal Kicking in the NFL

MIT : December 14, 2013 1:28 am : 2014, Blog, Uncategorized

It truly is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Decorations are in every store (ok, so that’s not new), you can’t escape hearing songs about Santa, MIT students are all furiously cramming for their finals, and NFL games are taking place in weather like this:

Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press
Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press 1

It’s obvious that this kind of weather affects every aspect of the game (except LeSean McCoy, apparently). more »


Welcome to this year’s MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference blog!

MIT : November 21, 2013 11:45 am : Blog

Welcome to this year’s MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference blog!

As always, we’ll be sharing the latest in cutting-edge analytics, insightful research, and behind-the-scenes perspective about the conference. Experts will provide insights on a range of topics, including: player analysis, big data and advanced analytics, and updates on panels and new panelists. If you have an idea you’d like to share on the blog, please contact us at

Planning is well underway for this year’s conference. Over the past few months we begun lining up an impressive slate of panelists and will be announcing many more soon, had our noses buried in books looking for the perfect reading material for our gift bags, and evaluated a record number of research paper abstracts.

We are looking forward to welcoming you to Boston in late February!

Matt Kalmus & Kristen Mackie


An NBA Nightmare: The James Harden-Dwight Howard Pick-and-Roll

MIT : July 19, 2013 12:54 am : Blog

SSAC’s own Carl Fudge recently broke down the Houston Rocket’s pick-and-roll, featuring Dwight Howard and James Harden for the Rocket’s blog Check out the original post here!

In 2012-2013, the Houston Rockets emerged as one of the best offensive teams in the NBA, utilizing an uptempo style and a steady diet of pick-and-rolls, isolations and three-pointers to fuel their rise to a #3 ranking in points per shot (bested only by Oklahoma City and Miami). more »

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