Thursday, June 6, 2013

Big Data, Sports Analytics, and an SDM Fellow - SDM Pulse, Summer 2013

SDM ’12 Ben Levitt, a senior systems engineer at Raytheon Corporation, was a key player in the 2013 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference held in March. Now in its seventh year and called the “Super Bowl of Sports Analytics” by Forbes magazine, the student-run conference attracted more than 2,700 attendees.

Levitt’s contributions:
With the support of MIT M.B.A. and now Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey, Levitt created two panels—an in-game coaching session titled "Monday Morning Quarterback: Coaching and In-Game Decisions" and another called "Big Data: Lessons for Sports." He developed the content framework for each and lined up participants from the sports, business, media, and technology sectors.

“Monday Morning Quarterback”:
The in-game coaching panel used video and audience interactivity to encourage the panelists and the audience to explore the use of analytics in all aspects of play calling. The panelists, a collection of the NFL's best coaches and managers, included:

•    Jack De Rio, defensive coordinator, Denver Broncos
•    Herm Edwards, NFL analyst, ESPN, and former NFL Head Coach
•    Thomas Dimitroff, general manager, Atlanta Falcons
•    Brian Burke, founder, Advanced NFL Stats website

Tony Reali, host of “Around the Horn” and “stat boy” on “Pardon the Interruption,” ESPN, moderated the panel.

“Big Data-Lessos for Sports”: Composed of the world's best data experts, this panel discussed how “nexgen” data scientists can supersede today's “stats geeks.” Panelists also explored best practices from industries outside of sports and the insights they offer into how to turn petabytes of “motion capture” and multispectral data into competitive advantage. Panelists included:

•    Chris Selland, vice president of marketing, HP Vertica
•    Jeff Hammerbacher, cofounder of Cloudera and former leader of Facebook’s data team
•    Claudia Perlich, chief scientist, m6d
•    Joe Doyle, Erwin H. Schell professor of management and associate professor of applied economics, MIT Sloan School of Management

Michael Schrage, research fellow, MIT Sloan School of Management Center for Digital Business and the Imperial College (London) Business School, served as moderator.

The Monday Morning Quarterback: In-Game Coaching panel
included (left to right) Jack Del Rio, Denver Broncos; Tony Reali,
ESPN’s ‘Around the Horn’; Thomas Dimitroff, Atlanta Falcons;
Brian Burke, Advanced NFL Stats; Ben Levitt, panel
producer/developer and SDM '12; and Herm Edwards, ESPN.
Photo by SLY Photography

Watch the video:

Learn more about Ben Levitt at

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