J.P. Ricciardi, senior vice president ofÂ 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 speakers at a pioneering conference to explore the increasing role of analytics in the sports industry.
Bill James, senior baseball operations advisor for the Boston Red Sox and author of "The Bill James Baseball Abstract," will also be featured in the conference, which is sponsored by the MIT Sloan Entertainment, Media & Sports Club and will be held Saturday, Feb. 10, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at MIT.
Daryl Morey (M.B.A. 2000), former instructor of the analytical sports management course at MIT Sloan, is conference co-chair. The daylong event will bring together national sports industry leaders who are already "integrating an analytical approach into their personnel decisions and business operations. 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," Morey said.
Morey, who is assistant general manager of the Houston Rockets and a former Boston Celtics senior vice president of operations, noted that conference participants will also include Rich Gotham, chief operations officer of the Boston Celtics; Peter Chiarelli, general manager of the Boston Bruins; Mark Waller, senior vice president of NFL International; and Jessica Gelman, conference co-chair and director of new business development and operational initiatives for the New England Patriots.
Participants will explore such key questions as: Why are some sports teams and leagues moreÂ 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?
McCourt, an MIT Sloan alum, described the Sloan sports business conference as an "important step in showcasing the role of M.B.A.s and the use of analytics in the industry. As (the L.A. Dodgers') 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 of CNBC; Michael Schrage of the Washington Post; John Hollinger of ESPN.com; Rob Neyer of ESPN.com; and Shira Springer of the Boston Globe.
For more information or to register for the MIT Sloan Sports Business Conference, please visitÂ www.sloansportsconference.com/.Â For more information on the MIT Sloan Entertainment, Media & Sports Club, please visit sloanems.org.
The conference is also 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.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 7, 2007 (download PDF).