This is a show for sports professionals, data junkies, and fans alike. It’s a show for anyone who knows that numbers are about much more than the score. Hosts Ben Shields (MIT Sloan School of Management) and Paul Michelman (MIT Sloan Management Review) engage the world’s premier sports analytics experts in a lively, occasionally controversial, conversation about what’s really happening both on and off the field.
My Sh*T Don't Work in the Playoffs
In today's NBA, are analytics just a regular season tool?
Analytics have a major place in today’s basketball world. At some level, every team relies on data and analytics for roster construction, salary negotiation, and in-game strategy. But the playoffs? They're a different story. In the NBA's second season, is it time to ignore the numbers and let talent, tenacity, and those hated "intangibles" rule the court? It's a question perplexing GMs and coaches alike. We'll search answers with Los Angeles Lakers reporter, Mike Trudell.
Front Office, Disrupted
The explosion of streaming media offers fans unlimited access to sports and entertainment. So how can teams entice their audience to the events happening here and now? Sports Innovation cofounder and CEO Angela Ruggiero says success starts with understanding just how fans’ behavior has changed with the advent of digital technology — meaning, executives of sports companies and media outlets alike must be willing to completely rethink how they approach their marketing.
The Running Game Is Only Mostly Dead
Recent years have seen an explosion in the NFL passing game and emerging analytics demonstrate that teams that throw the ball more win the game more. So does this mean the run no longer matters? That’s not entirely clear. We talked with The Athletic’s Ted Nguyen who has gone deep on analyzing the value of the run in today’s NFL.
Counterpoints takes on two pressing questions in the sports analytics field: the issue of information overload and whether there is such a thing as too much data, and a very different — but related — issue: Biometrics. We’ll go to the mat over whether or not professional athletes will be willing to share their personal biometric data in real time.
Talent vs. Teamwork
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: The rag-tag group of underdogs overcomes the more skilled favorite thanks to nothing more than their belief in each other. That popular sports movie cliché may feel unrealistic at times, but when it comes to building a team in real life, the value of cohesiveness and chemistry is increasingly measurable and provable. Whether it’s the NBA’s 2004 Detroit Pistons, the 2016 Leicester City Foxes soccer club, or the miracle 2003 Penrith Panthers of Australian rugby, there are many examples of the right players in the right system doing something seemingly impossible. But is it actually possible to quantify team chemistry — and if so, can such assessments really make a difference on the field? We speak with Simon Strachan of Gain Line Analytics to find out.
Behold the Big Man
In the NBA’s modern era of pace-and-space, small ball, and chucking away from 3, it feels like there’s no more place for the lumbering 7-foot center who used to be the backbone of the league. But the burgeoning field of defensive analytics shows that this "dinosaur" might not be going extinct just yet. Ben speaks with Ivana Saric, data scientist for the Philadelphia 76ers, about how defensive analytics are changing pro basketball and the roles of the people who play it.