Finalists Ready to Compete for 2013 SSAC First Pitch Competition Titles

After months of hard work from MBA and Undergraduate teams across the country, the finalists for the 2013 Sloan Sports Analytics First Pitch Competition presented by MLB Advanced Media have been decided! The MBA teams have been working to develop strategies that will drive growth for the MLB.TV business model, while Undergraduate teams have been tasked with bringing digital products of the future to the MLB ballpark. Teams will present recommendations to a panel of business and industry leaders at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference on Friday, March 1st. And the finalists are…

MBA Finalists

Columbia Business School – represented by Martin Kleinbard and Alex Zackheim

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business – represented by Michael Gries, Jonathan Hay, and Haibo Lu

The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouthrepresented by Chuck Culp, Jon Ryder, and Dave Sibley

Undergraduate Finalists

Laurentian University – represented by Matt Jacowetz, Darby Reive, and Katarina Schwabe

Ohio University – represented by Steve Givarz, Mary Lambert, and Zach Scheimer

Queen’s University – represented by Josh Hoffman, Devon MacMurray, and Sam Petras

Thank you to all MBA and Undergraduate teams that submitted to this year’s competition, and congratulations to our teams joining us in Boston next week!

The SSAC Organizing Team

More about the First Pitch Competition

The SSAC organizers created First Pitch to provide MBA students with a fun, dynamic, and competitive learning experience to gain exposure to sports business issues. First Pitch also provides MLB Advanced Media with the opportunity to gain unique insight to a key business challenge from future business leaders. This year, the SSAC organizers and MLB Advanced Media decided to create a second track for undergraduate students.

2013 Case Prompts

MBA: Growing the MLB.TV Business Model

MLB, in 2002, became the first league to sell a live video subscription product on the Internet and since that time, MLB.TV has been one of the most successful of its kind on the Internet. MLBAM, which has built the technology infrastructure to power and grow this live video experience, has sold MLB.TV as a direct-to-consumer, out-of-market subscription service, mirroring the cable television dual-revenue model (subscription/advertising). Since that 2002 debut, 1.5 billion live streams of baseball games have been accessed by MLB.TVsubscribers. In 2012, MLB.TV had two price points – $124.99 for MLB.TV Premium and $99.99 for MLB.TV and saw a 40 percent growth in subscribers. Premium access allowed subscribers to watch live games across an array of connected devices, gaming consoles and mobile phones or tablets. What is the optimal business model for continuing to grow subscribers and revenue? Lower annual price points? No subscription supported by advertising and sponsorship? How much revenue would need to be generated to offset lower price points or advertising-only support and continue to grow subscribers and revenue annually?

Undergraduate: Digital Products of the Future at the Ballpark

Stepping out from the tunnel into a cascade of green field underneath a cloudless, blue sky for the first time is an experience every baseball fan, regardless of age, remembers. During Commissioner Selig’s tenure, Major League Baseball has seen new or renovated ballparks in nearly every market, capturing the individual spirit of each city and its surroundings. In parallel, the technological revolution over that time has given fans unprecedented access to the game on whatever device they are carrying. The intersection of those two experiences – going to a baseball game and personal technology – is at the heart of the game’s future. As Major League ballparks continue to increase Wi-Fi and cellular network capabilities, there are countless opportunities to give fans access to new mobile products that personalize and enhance their visits to these baseball cathedrals. The first and most successful of which is MLB.com At The Ballpark. Originally launched as part of the top-selling At Bat mobile app in July 2010, At The Ballpark now is a standalone free app that saw nearly one million downloads in its rookie campaign. At The Ballpark personalizes and complements fans’ trips to the ballpark with mobile check-in, social media, offers, rewards, exclusive content, maps, mobile food ordering, My Journal and more. What’s next?

Editor’s note: The views expressed in each post are those of the author(s) only and not those of the conference organizing team or blog sponsor.