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MIT Sloan launches sports analytics podcast

“Counterpoints,” produced by MIT Sloan Management Review, aims to reveal fascinating insights about sports analytics.
Paul Michelman (left) and Ben Shields in the studio
Paul Michelman (left) and Ben Shields in the studio
Photo: Global Business People

MIT Sloan Management Review has launched "Counterpoints," a new sports analytics podcast. The podcast offers sports fans and professionals an inside perspective on what drives teams’ performance on and off the field.

In each episode, cohosts Ben Shields, senior lecturer within the MIT Sloan School of Management, and Paul Michelman, editor in chief of MIT Sloan Management Review, set up a thesis statement. They then turn to a top expert in the field of sports analytics to make the case. Shields and the episode’s expert engage in a lively discussion and debate, and look to data and analytics to prove or disprove the issue at hand. Expert guests include senior executives from sports organizations, sports analytics researchers, and sports technologists.

One early episode features sports analytics consultant, author, and speaker Ben Alamar, who proposes that basketball intelligence, separate from measures of athleticism or past performance, is a predictor of a player’s success in professional basketball.

Another episode features Jessica Gelman, CEO of Kraft Analytics Group and cofounder and cochair of the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, who joins the show to defend the hypothesis: Teams can win at selling tickets without winning on the field.

“As sports analytics has exploded as a science and an industry, we saw both a real need and an exciting opportunity to help bridge the gap between research and practice,” Michelman says. “Really, 'Counterpoints’ aims to play the same role for sports analytics that MIT Sloan Management Review plays for management more broadly: to identify the most important and interesting new ideas in the field and help translate and amplify them for greater impact. Of course, we’re talking about sports so we’re having some fun with it as well.”

Transcripts and listening options for “Counterpoints” are available on the podcast page.

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