MIT Sloan to host inaugural Sports Business Conference highlighting the growing use of analytics in sports management

Toronto Blue Jays General Manager J.P. Ricciardi and Los Angeles Dodgers President Jamie McCourt to serve as keynote speakers

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., January 17, 2007 — The first ever MIT Sloan Sports Business Conference will bring together leading sports industry executives from major U.S. professional leagues, academics and MBAs to explore the increasing role of analytics in the sports industry. Sponsored by the MIT Sloan Entertainment, Media & Sports Club, the conference will be held on the MIT campus on Saturday, February 10, 2007 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“This conference will bring together for the first time sports industry leaders from the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL who are integrating an analytical approach into their personnel decisions and business operations,” says conference co-chair Daryl Morey, MIT Sloan MBA ’00 and a former instructor of the popular Analytical Sports Management Course at MIT Sloan. “In the sports industry, competitive advantage is critical. Our goal is to provide a unique opportunity to meet and learn from top sports industry leaders who are creating advantage by using these methods.”

J.P. Ricciardi, senior vice president of baseball operations and general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, and Jamie McCourt, president of the Los Angeles Dodgers, are slated to serve as keynote speaker. Bill James, senior baseball operations advisor for the Boston Red Sox and famed author of the Bill James Baseball Abstract, will headline a panel that will look at the latest tools and models general managers are using to make personnel decisions. Conference participants will also include:

  • Rich Gotham, COO, Boston Celtics;
  • Peter Chiarelli, general manager, Boston Bruins;
  • Mark Waller, senior vice president, NFL International;
  • Daryl Morey, conference co-chair; assistant general manager, Houston Rockets, former Boston Celtics senior vice president of operations;
  • Jessica Gelman, conference co-chair, director of New Business Development and Operational Initiatives, New England Patriots.

Key questions to be addressed at the conference will include: Why are some sports teams and leagues more successful than others? How does quantitative analysis factor into personnel decisions such as drafting players and making trades? How should teams determine the optimal ticket pricing strategy? Will rule changes be introduced to counter the pace of technology improvements?

“MIT Sloan's inaugural Sports Business Conference is an important step in showcasing the role of MBAs and the use of analytics in the industry,” says McCourt, an MIT Sloan alumna. “As president, I believe that hiring the right people with the necessary analytical skill set combined with excellent interpersonal skills will result in a winning team for fans and profitability for the franchise.”

Moderators for the conference will include prominent sports journalists such as Darren Rovell, CNBC; Michael Schrage, The Washington Post; John Hollinger, ESPN.com; Rob Neyer, ESPN.com; and Shira Springer, The Boston Globe.

The conference is being sponsored by Stratbridge, a supplier of sports industry technology for teams in the NBA and NHL; The Parthenon Group, a boutique provider of sports industry management consulting; and yOOnew, an online marketplace for futures contracts.

For more information or to register for the MIT Sloan Sports Business Conference, please visit http://www.sloansportsconference.com. For more information, please contact Heather Tow-Yick at 401-556-3556.

For over fifty years, the MIT Sloan School of Management, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has been one of the world's leading academic sources of innovation in management theory and practice. With students from more than 60 countries, it develops effective, innovative, and principled leaders who advance the global economy.

About the MIT Sloan Entertainment, Media & Sports Club

The Entertainment, Media & Sports Club was formed in 2001 as a student-run club to fulfill the growing interest at the MBA program in the business of entertainment, media, and sports. The mission of the MIT Sloan Entertainment, Media and Sports Club is to help MIT Sloan students learn about the industries and extend the MIT Sloan brand as a lead business school in the entertainment, media and sports world. The club sponsors speakers, plans conferences, locates job opportunities, provides networking opportunities and career advising, and coordinates trips to top companies in the industry. Please visit http://sloanems.org for more information.

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Patricia Favreau
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