Competitive Advantage

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Competitive Advantage presentations feature experts from leagues, teams, and industry providing insight on how new applications of data analytics are shaping and transforming the sports business. Our speakers share and show details on analytic tools, technologies and strategies used in their organizations.

2018 MIT SLOAN SPORTS ANALYTICS CONFERENCE Competitive Advantage

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Friday, February 23 9:30 AM – 10:00 AM
Competitive Advantage West

‘Strokes Gained’ has revolutionized golf performance analysis. It has taken us from 1-dimensional stats to an empirical method of analyzing every golf shot. It is now the recognized form of analytics on the PGA Tour. I help Tour players and their coaches get the most from this system. I will discuss the flaws in traditional stats, explain what Strokes Gained is and how the Tour captures and uses the data. Finally, I will explain how I use the data to give my players a competitive advantage.

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Friday, February 23 9:30 AM – 10:00 AM
Competitive Advantage East

For NFL coaches, Game Winning Chance (GWC) is an essential metric for making decisions both on and off the field. EdjSports has spent more than a decade developing a revolutionary technology that accurately measures GWC for specific matchups and unique game circumstances in real-time. This CA will show how GWC making an impact where it matters most: the win column.

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Friday, February 23 10:00 AM – 10:30 AM
Competitive Advantage West

Today, many sporting teams seem to be drowning in their own data, unable to process information fast enough to apply it effectively. The growth of devices within sport has overwhelmed teams with measurement options whilst providing limited and data-specific analytical tools. This has left data siloed, and teams with the challenge of piecing it together and left wondering if they are making the right decisions to best impact performance and health. This session will explore the various approaches to machine learning and propose the most relevant technique for sport. It will also present advances in descriptive machine learning that will fundamentally change the ability of teams to turn the complexities of athlete data into simple, actionable insights, with new research gained from these methods as a highlight.

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Friday, February 23 10:00 AM – 10:30 AM
Competitive Advantage East

Pro sports teams have a lot of resources that they can bring to bear on a problem and have access to some information that isn’t available to the public. However, the public domain has an extraordinary amount of horsepower, and overlooking the excellent work being done by academic and hobbyist analysts would be a grave error in a field where slim edges provide significant value. The Hurricanes’ efforts to stay connected to the analytical community at large and to make use of these resources will be discussed.

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Friday, February 23 11:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Competitive Advantage West

Minnesota routinely achieves top quartile rankings in nearly all NFL digital measures and produced the No. 1 ranked Game Entertainment in the NFL in 2017. Harper will provide an introduction to the team’s integrated approach to content platforms, how the team has built an infrastructure for quick and informed decision-making and utilized data to drive results.

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Friday, February 23 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM
Competitive Advantage West

What do data insights from lineman’s backsides and targeted social listening on Sunday mornings have in common? The answer lies in using empathy to create valuable analytics-based models. This talk is a case study of how two models in separate parts of the NFL’s business reveal similar, impactful best practices.

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Friday, February 23 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM
Competitive Advantage East

Renowned for their use of analytics, the Philadelphia 76ers will share insights on their use of their Data Warehouse, CRM, analytical models and Sales Account Executive adoption to build a data driven culture that has helped lead to impressive season ticket member growth and consistent 95 percent plus client retention rate.

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Friday, February 23 12:30 – 1:00 PM
Competitive Advantage West

With a user base of over 15,000 including athletes, medical staff, analysts, and coaches, the AIS has developed a truly centralized and world-class Athlete Management System. This presentation will cover the building blocks for the effective roll out of the AMS and how it has transformed the culture around data and outcomes for athletes across the Australian sporting landscape, especially in the area of injury prevention.

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Friday, February 23 12:30 PM – 1:00 PM
Competitive Advantage East

In 2017 FC Barcelona lept ahead in analytics when it announced the establishment of an Innovation Hub dedicated to new knowledge generation in the industry. In this talk, Raul Palaez shares the club’s latest work to develop a deep, cognitive understanding of the game – going beyond individual performance to understand team interactions and non-linear contributions that ultimately lead to victory on match day.

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Friday, February 23 1:00 PM – 1:30 PM
Competitive Advantage West

This presentation explores a “Money Ball Plus” approach to talent selection, focusing on the notion that psychological assessment data combined with more traditional sports metrics (e.g., college performance, scouting evaluations), can be used to enhance predictions of on-field success. Assessment instrument and process “best practices” used by teams across the NFL, NBA, and MLS will be integrated throughout the presentation.

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Friday, February 23 1:00 PM – 1:30 PM
Competitive Advantage East

As customer demands continue to evolve so must a team’s ticketing strategy. This presentation will cover how Sounders FC of MLS have used data to shift to a more customer-centric approach in selling suites and premium seating. Which products to offer, how to package/price inventory, how companies are targeted, and even how sales staffs are built can all benefit from a data-driven approach.

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Friday, February 23 1:30 PM – 2:00 PM
Competitive Advantage West

The Vallejo City Unified School District in California has an annual adjusted high school dropout rate more than twice county and state averages. School ranking and standardized test scores fall in the bottom third for California. CJ Anderson is using his platform to create academic and athletic opportunities for children in the community that shaped him. This talk will introduce the Dreams Never Die Foundation and how it aims to improve educational outcomes and inspire students in Vallejo.

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Friday, February 23 1:30 PM – 2:00 PM
Competitive Advantage East

As an artist and researcher, Jonny Sun studies the design of experience, and has attracted a huge following online – 500K Twitter followers and counting – with his honest, emotional storytelling and unique moniker of “Jomny” the alien. How does he shape experience to be honest and resonant? In this talk, he shares a few creative approaches to engaging with modern audiences in genuine and authentic ways. Whether online (using social bots and analytics to understand when and how people interact with each other on Twitter) or offline (designing physical environments for more memorable experiences), the strategies he proposes are widely applicable across industries and add new dimensions to fan engagement.

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Friday, February 23 3:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Competitive Advantage West

Fans’ insatiable appetite for NFL content doesn’t mean every piece of content is right for every fan. Learn how NFL Clubs identify target audiences and develop a content strategy that aligns with organizational objectives. You’ll also learn how the NFL’s Club Media Group works with the 32 teams to optimize social media content for international, Hispanic, and millennial audiences while using data to measure effectiveness at every step.

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Friday, February 23 3:30 PM – 4:00 PM
Competitive Advantage West

Engaging an audience today is more challenging than ever. Wasserman and Zoomph have joined together to deliver a powerful audience profiling platform that guides brands, properties, and talent to better understand their audiences and how to engage them. The Wasserman Unlock Platform uses proprietary technology and data via Zoomph to track 150+ audience variables across 320 million social accounts.

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Friday, February 23 4:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Competitive Advantage West

Alumni. Supporters. Students. Fans. Passion for college football runs deep, especially in the SEC. How do universities engage and retain fans while maximizing revenue? This session will explore how Mississippi State uses data and analytics to price tickets, monitor the fan experience, renew season ticket members, and engage the most loyal fans.

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Friday, February 23 4:30 PM – 5:00 PM
Competitive Advantage West

Join Michael Goldstein, Adobe’s Media & Entertainment Industry Strategy lead, as he shares all new research around live sports viewership (LSV) including customizable viewing modes, Super Fans v Minor Fans, shifts in non-TV device usage, live broadcasts on social media, advertising integration, and much more.

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Saturday, February 24 11:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Competitive Advantage West

Using team relay performance as a case study, John Atkinson will take the audience through Swimming Canada’s systematic process for identifying athletes and events to be targeted at the Olympic Games. This system, developed using Olympic data within all programs, includes age profiling and expected improvement analysis, and leverages analytics to increase the probability of investing in the right areas to deliver success at the highest level.

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Saturday, February 24 11:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Competitive Advantage East

The sports science industry has become a multimillion dollar arms race involving scientists, Big Data and developments in technology and innovation. Yet one question remains unanswered: Where’s the evidence of its benefit in team sports? Fergus Connolly describes the pitfalls for teams to avoid and how to optimize sports science so it positively impacts the scoreboard.

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Saturday, February 24 11:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Competitive Advantage West

What was the thought process behind the Packers drafting Aaron Rodgers in 2005 while having Brett Favre still on the roster? Drawing on his extensive NFL experience, including his time as Vice President of the Green Bay Packers for nine years (1999-2008), Andrew Brandt will take the audience inside the inner workings of front office decision-making in football.

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Saturday, February 24 11:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Competitive Advantage East

A few professional sports teams outperform by consistently beating the odds relative to the resources at their disposal. Their success is a consequence of their ability to differentially harness their resources through superior teamwork, or ‘cooperation.’ BCG’s Smart Simplicity approach offers a framework to understand the drivers of this superior cooperation and how to promote it. A case study of the 1990s US women’s soccer team illustrates how the principles of Smart Simplicity can be effectively harnessed and applied to professional organizations, both within and outside of sports.

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Saturday, February 24 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM
Competitive Advantage West

As sports leagues add additional real-time player tracking technologies (e.g. Statcast, NBA player tracking, NFL Next Gen Stats), the amount of data available to analyze player performance is growing at an exponential rate. In this talk, we will show how DataRobot leverages machine learning to turn this new data into useful predictions. Then, as an example, DataRobot will conduct a machine learning analysis of PITCHf/x data to illuminate the impact of pitch framing.

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Saturday, February 24 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM
Competitive Advantage East

SAP has been innovating with global sports teams, leagues, and associations for years. This session will highlight customer examples of harnessing the power of real-time data to “run live” and gain a competitive edge in the areas of player performance, fan engagement, and venue operations.

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Saturday, February 24 12:30 PM – 1:00 PM
Competitive Advantage West

In early 2017, Carnegie Mellon and U-Alberta surprised the poker world when, in organized hold ‘em matches, AI agents proved they could consistently beat skilled players, and by significant margins. This talk provides an overview of the efforts to train a successful AI model and extrapolates what the advances in AI means for the poker industry

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Saturday, February 24 12:30 PM – 1:00 PM
Competitive Advantage East

Why do the data cartels of Google and Facebook command so much of our marketing budget? These tech giants offer unique ecosystems to engage potential customers, however, we often take them at their word when it comes to the value they create. Networking data from complementary partner networks enables otherwise impossible activitations. While P.I.I. regulations and ticket distribution oligopolies are barriers, the potential to add value is enormous. This presentation will cover the implementation of a cohort strategy.

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Saturday, February 24 1:00 PM – 1:30 PM
Competitive Advantage West

Lower-limb injuries in the NBA attract significant attention and represent huge setbacks for the player in question. While rehabilitation time lines for such injuries are well established, the criteria that guide the transition from “return-to-practice” to “return-to-competition” are less well documented. This talk examines how wearable technology can be used to establish demands of competition, document a player’s status and monitor adaptations.

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Saturday, February 24 1:00 PM – 1:30 PM
Competitive Advantage East

From Dean Smith in the 1960s to Dean Oliver and Ken Pomeroy today, access to better information about basketball has grown over time. However, the statistical revolution has largely left the women’s game behind. In this talk, Aaron Barzilai, former director of Basketball Analytics for the Philadelphia 76ers, discusses the origins of Her Hoop Stats and how the women’s basketball community uses the site.

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Saturday, February 24 1:30 PM – 2:00 PM
Competitive Advantage West

The circadian rhythm along with the additional effects of air travel, including jet lag and sleep deprivation, can negatively affect sports performance. This talk focuses on strategies to minimize these effects when teams travel eastward or westward to compete. The result is evidence-based scientific recommendations to hack the biological clock.

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Saturday, February 24 1:30 PM – 2:00 PM
Competitive Advantage East

This presentation focuses on the hybrid duration format for basketball, where the final portion of each game is played without a game clock. Data illuminates the game clock’s warping effect on the quality of late-game play under the current format, and highlights the key characteristic that positions basketball as the only major sport that can have the best of both timed and untimed worlds.

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Saturday, February 24 2:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Competitive Advantage West

This talk will examine the combined use of laboratory exercise testing and field-based physiology monitoring to examine their influence on elite level performers. A case-based presentation will be used to examine the intricacies of performance physiology and the value of laboratory science for athlete development.

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Saturday, February 24 2:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Competitive Advantage East

Since the 1990s the advertising media equivalency has been the reference used by brands and rights holders to measure their sponsorship deals. But times have changed, and in collaboration with Gemba, Formula 1 developed a new way to assesss sponsorships to not only help sponsors understand the value of their partnerships, but also allow F1 to better drive their account management and sales processes.

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Saturday, February 24 2:30 PM – 3:00 PM
Competitive Advantage West

This discussion will focus on two main concepts: First, how data has provided insight into the specific game demands of American Football players. Second, how this data has helped tailor off-season training to build robust and resilient athletes that can handle the demands of the season. Additionally, lessons learned regarding practice efficiency and optimization will be discussed. Answering the question: Are we really preparing to play the game?

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Saturday, February 24 2:30 PM – 3:00 PM
Competitive Advantage East

The challenge with social media activations is in measurement and valuation. How can teams calculate ROI and ensure brands receive the full value of their social media engagement? Join KORE Software and the LA Clippers, who collaborated to develop a selling model that normalizes social media delivery across all interaction types. The session will also discuss the future of social media valuation and how teams can maximize its effectiveness.

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