Show Me the Data: 15th Annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference to bring together leading figures in sports analytics, business and technology on April 8 and 9, 2021


General and VIP tickets still available for this year’s virtualconference

Cambridge, Mass. March 29, 2021—The MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference (SSAC) kicks off its 15th year with a roster of industry experts, team owners, league executives, coaches, athletes, and academics who are defining the future of sports. This year’s virtual Conference will host panels, presentations, competitions, workshops, and exhibitions that showcase the role of data analytics in the global sports industry. Since its debut in 2007, SSAC has grown in popularity year-over-year; since 2015, more than 21,000 people have attended while hundreds of thousands more have watched panels and listened to podcasts after the fact.

During this time of ambiguity and change, this year’s theme—Show Me the Data (#ShowMeTheData #SSAC21)—will highlight the need for data analytics more than ever to understand changing customer needs, the impact of altered seasons, and the importance of real-time information to predict the evolving future of sports.

”Data is imperative as we recover from the pandemic, especially as fans are increasingly returning to games and we gain insights into the long-term impact on athletes,” said Jessica Gelman, Conference co-founder and co-chair, who serves as CEO of KAGR (Kraft Analytics Group). “This year, we are highlighting how industry leaders and our notable speakers are innovating during this time of new data, new consumers, and new technology.”

Speakers and panelists will include, among others:

  • Renie Anderson, EVP/CRO, NFL
  • Billy Beane, EVP of Baseball Operations, Oakland A’s
  • Sue Bird, Point Guard, Seattle Storm
  • Kathy Carter, CRO, LA28 / CEO, US Olympic and Paralympic Properties
  • Kate Jhaveri, EVP and CMO, NBA
  • Michael Lewis, Author and Journalist
  • Adam McKay, Director, Producer, Screenwriter and Comedian
  • Erika Nardini, CEO, Barstool Sports
  • Alex Rodriguez, Founder and CEO, A-Rod Corp.
  • Nate Silver, Statistician, Author and Founder, FiveThirtyEight
  • DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director, NFLPA
  • J.J. Watt, Defensive End, Arizona Cardinals and three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year

For a full list of speakers, please visit here. Panel discussions include, among others:

  • The Case for Activism: Sports Impact on Society
    • This panel brings athletes and members of the media together to discuss the evolution of activism in sports, personal journeys, and the increased integration and future of sports-led social initiatives.
  • The New Sports Fan: Innovation & Data
    • In 2021, precedent is not a predictor of who fans are or what they want. Learn how leading executives from Amazon, Comcast and KAGR are using data to understand how to attract new fans, create new experiences, and take advantage of lessons learned during the pandemic.
  • When the Sports World Stopped & How It Came Back to Life: COVID and the Future of Sports
    • As the sports industry works towards a new normal, this panel will discuss what the pandemic has changed, lessons learned around player training/safety, and what the future of the sports world will look like in the new normal for organizations and fans alike.
  • Show Not Tell: Sports Storytelling
    • Director/producer Adam McKay (Anchorman, Talladega Nights) and author Michael Lewis (The Big Short, Moneyball) will discuss how they bring athlete stories to life, both in parody and through documentary, along with how sports media was the precursor to political media.

Rounding out SSAC are interactive events, networking opportunities, competitions, and a research paper competition:

  • 7th Annual Hackathon
    • Presented by Major League Baseball
  • Startup Competition and Trade Show
    • Selected startups and small companies will showcase their innovations in the fields of sports-related technologies, products, and services.
  • DraftKings Sports Gaming
    • Graduate students from around the country will be tasked with creating and presenting a new sports gaming concept to DraftKings.

“At its core, SSAC brings like-minded people together, and we are excited to share the creative ways we are doing this virtually,” said Conference co-chair and co-founder Daryl Morey who serves as President of Basketball Operations for the Philadelphia 76ers. “We continue to extend our efforts to increase diversity of ideas and, uniquely, given our virtual presence, test news ways to access the Conference.”

This year, as part of a focus and efforts to increase diversity in the sports industry, SSAC initiated a mentorship program with Wasserman, a sports marketing and talent management company, for 20 women and underrepresented individuals to attend the Conference and receive ongoing support after the conference. In a continued sign of progress, for the first time in SSAC history, two female MIT Sloan MBA students—Lindsay Jenna Solotar and Maggie Riddle, both Class of 2021—are serving as the lead organizers of the world’s leading sports industry Conference.

“SSAC is a major reason why Maggie and I decided to attend MIT’s Sloan School of Management,” said Solotar. “We are honored to be co-leads for the 15th Annual Conference and grateful for the learning opportunities that have come out of planning it.”

Riddle added, ‘We are forever indebted to our nine second-year classmates on the Leadership Team and to the broader organizing committee consisting of forty-six ‘Sloanies’ for all of the amazing work they did this year. We hope you enjoy the Conference and look forward to ‘seeing’ you virtually!”

To purchase tickets for the SSAC, please visit here.

SSAC’s goal is to provide a forum for industry professionals (executives and leading researchers) and students to discuss the increasing role of analytics in the global sports industry. MIT Sloan School of Management is dedicated to fostering growth and innovation in this arena, and the Conference enriches opportunities for learning about the sports business world. SSAC is open to anyone interested in sports. Founded by Daryl Morey (MIT Sloan ’00) and Jessica Gelman (HBS ’02) in 2006, the Conference is co-chaired by Gelman and Daryl Morey, and organized by MIT Sloan students.

For more info Patricia Favreau Associate Director (617) 253-3492

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