In recent years, ESPN has had an increasing role in the discussion surrounding sports analytics, specifically dominating the conversation at the industry-leading MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference (SSAC) in Boston. This year topped them all with an overwhelming onsite activity, including panels, live broadcasts, recruiting, research paper finalists and more. Over the two-day event, sports and analytics enthusiasts and industry leaders got a taste of what ESPN has to offer.
Friday ESPN Panelists
- ESPN Sponsor Panel: Using Advanced Data to Enhance Broadcasts with Jason Benetti (Commentator), Doug White (Programming & Acquisitions) and Seth Walder (Stats and Info)
- Winning Outside the Game in the Business of Sports with Jimmy Pitaro Watch
- Building Data-Driven Organizations with Michelle Steele (Reporter) Watch
- How the NBA Could Be More Like Peak TV with Kevin Arnovitz (ESPN.com)
- Basketball Analytics with Paul Pierce (Commentator) and Zach Lowe (ESPN.com) Watch
- Meek Mill and Michael Rubin on Social Justice with Rachel Nichols (Commentator) Watch
- Creating a Sports Legacy with Jackie MacMullan (Writer/Commentator) Watch
- Using Analytics to Build the Beautiful Games with Kirk Goldsberry (ESPN.com)
Saturday ESPN Panelists
- Rebooting the Lakers/Celtics Rivalry with Jackie MacMullan Watch
- Managing Big League Levers with Alison Overholt (ESPNW & ESPN the Mag)
- Conference Career Talks with Kristie Blasi (Stats and Info)
- Sports Gambling’s Emergence with Doug Kezirian (Commentator) Watch
- Next Generation of Tracking Data with Kirk Goldsberry
- Athletes and the Media with Katie Nolan (Commentator) Watch
- eSports Analytics with Ryan Garfat (Digital Content)
- Football Analytics with Mina Kimes (ESPN the Mag) Watch
ESPN On Air!
Rachel Nichols and Mina Kimes continued to captivate the young, sports-loving audience between panels and presentations with two live events. The Jump! broadcasted live on Friday afternoon with appearances from Sue Bird and Paul Pierce. Saturday kept the momentum going with a live podcast of The Mina Kimes Show featuring Larry Fitzgerald.
Research Paper Competition
ESPN Stats and Info’s Sr. Analytics Specialist, Brian Burke, was named a finalist in the prestigious MIT SSAC Research Paper Competition, where he introduced “DeepQB.” This development featured player tracking data from over two full seasons of professional football and demonstrated the ability to successfully understand complex aspects of the passing game, most notably quarterback decision-making. If you didn’t make it to the jam-packed room where he presented this idea, you can read the full paper here.
SIG left its mark on the analytics-focused conference in more ways than panels and presentations by running an event booth with a touchscreen, sizzle reels, giveaways, recruiting opportunities and the Sports Analytics team on hand for questions. After hosting ESPN’s sponsor panel on Friday, where moderator Seth Walder promoted ESPN’s Second Spectrum joint broadcast, SIG closed out the day with an intimate reception and a side-by-side screening of the Bucks/Lakers game on ESPN and the Full Court Press on ESPN3. *Notice that Zach Lowe and Kirk Goldsberry went back and forth to Bristol in order to make both the Full Court Press and MIT SSAC a success!
On Saturday, SIG’s Kristie Blasi and Allison Loucks, along with Nicole Pelaez-Dandrea of Digital Content led tables at the first annual Women’s Networking Lunch Power Hour, which was attended by over 100 women.
For more conference takeaways, pictures, videos and fan interaction, follow #SSAC19 on social media.