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Barack Obama to speak at MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference

The former president will “discuss his time in office and the next chapter in his life.”

By Zach Church  |  January 8, 2018

Obama basketball feature

Then-president Barack Obama takes a three-point shot shortly after delivering a speech on education and college affordability in March 2015 at Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

Why It Matters

Barack Obama has kept a moderate profile since leaving office, but will discuss his future plans at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in February.

Former president Barack Obama will speak Feb. 23 at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston, addressing “his time in office and the next chapter in his life,” organizers wrote in an email newsletter.

The student-run conference, now in its 12th year, takes place Feb. 23-24 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. General admission and student rate tickets are sold out, but “general admission plus” and VIP tickets were available as of Jan. 8.

While president, Obama often commented on sports, though as a fan. As president-elect in 2008 he called for an eight-team playoff in college football. (A four-team playoff began in 2014.) He appeared each year on ESPN to fill out his March Madness brackets for the NCAA Division I college basketball tournament and last year released his brackets online “in the spirit of good sportsmanship and good citizenship.”

News of Obama’s talk was released on Twitter Jan. 5 by the conference organizers, as well as by conference co-chairs Jessica Gelman, who is CEO of Kraft Analytics Group, and Daryl Morey, MBA ’00, who is general manager of the Houston Rockets.

Other speakers at the conference include Los Angeles Clippers owner and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Seattle Storm point guard Sue Bird, statistician and editor-in-chief of FiveThirtyEight Nate Silver, and the commissioners of the NBA, NHL, and MLB. In addition to keynote talks and panels, the conference includes a startup competition, a research paper competition, and a case study competition. While the conference is most often recognized for its focus on player and team analytics, its scope has expanded to include sports business and management and esports.

See what MIT Sloan alumni working in sports analytics say will be the the industry’s big trends in 2018. And read a short history of the conference.