Credit: Mimi Phan



New sports analytics podcast, COUNTERPOINTS, from noted sports analytics expert Ben Shields and MIT SMR to launch on Nov. 15


The new biweekly podcast is for sports analytics professionals, fanatics, and analytics junkies of all stripes.

CAMBRIDGE, Oct. 29, 2018––Counterpoints, a new sports analytics podcast from MIT Sloan Management Review and the MIT Sloan School of Management’s Ben Shields, will debut on Thursday, November 15. The new podcast will engage the world’s premier sports analytics experts in a data-driven and lively debate.

The trailer for Counterpoints is now available on iTunes, and new episodes will be released biweekly on Thursdays.

Hear the trailer.

Counterpoints will offer sports fans and professionals an inside perspective on what drives teams’ performance on and off the field. In each episode, cohosts Ben Shields of the MIT Sloan Sloan School of Management and Paul Michelman of MIT SMR will set up a thesis statement. Then, they’ll turn to a top expert in the field of sports analytics to make the case. Shields and the episode’s expert will engage in a lively discussion and debate, and will look to data and analytics to prove or disprove the issue at hand.

Ben Shields, MIT Sloan senior lecturer, faculty adviser to the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, and coauthor of The Sports Strategist: Developing Leaders for a High-Performance Industry and The Elusive Fan: Reinventing Sports in a Crowded Marketplace, will host the podcast, along with Paul Michelman, editor in chief of MIT Sloan Management Review. Expert guests will include senior executives from sports organizations, sports analytics researchers, and sports technologists. The podcast is brought to you by Ticketmaster.

“We’re excited to bring this insider’s view to people who revel in sports analytics,” said Shields. “We’ll have great dialogue, deep insights, and surprising discoveries. For people who like to nerd out on sports analytics — this is for you.”

“The podcast is a wonderful new outgrowth of MIT SMR’s digital presence,” said Michelman. “It’s a great opportunity to bring to life analytics — such a huge issue for business leaders — for our current and new customers.”

Upcoming Counterpoints episodes, launching on November 15, include:

Podcast Episode No. 1: The Quest to Measure Basketball IQ

Basketball IQ is one of the game’s holy analytical grails. We know it’s there, or at least we think we know it’s there. But what is it even made of? Intuition? Vision? Knowledge of the game? Or is it simply natural intelligence and brain processing speed applied to a specific context? Former director of sports analytics at ESPN Ben Alamar is one of sports’ leading proponents for and experts in basketball IQ. In this episode, Ben joins the show to defend the hypothesis: NBA teams would make fewer draft mistakes if they measured basketball IQ.

Podcast Episode No. 2: Do Teams Need to Win to Sell Tickets?

It’s easy to understand why winning teams would draw more fans — a great team features exciting players, entertaining competition, and the expectation of feeling satisfied once the game is over. But are those qualities actually tied to wins and losses? Or can any team with the right combination of potential and promotion draw a large audience, regardless of what happens during the game? Jessica Gelman, CEO of Kraft Analytics Group and cofounder and cochair of the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, joins the show to defend the hypothesis: Teams can win at selling tickets without winning on the field.Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or go to the podcast page to see other podcast options and to be notified of new episodes.

Listen to the preview clip and subscribe.

Learn more about Ben Shields and the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.

More about MIT Sloan Management Review.

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