SloanTwo weeks ago, Turnkey attended the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston, MA. The event was extremely well-attended, with each of the panels at or near capacity. The panels themselves showcased many intelligent and insightful speakers, including Mark Cuban, Bill James, Jeff Van Gundy, and Jonathan Kraft. Many focused on using analytics to gauge strategies and player values, both on the field (for example, how well certain players play together) and off the field (to determine if a certain trade makes sense, etc.). There were also focuses on ticketing, social media, and branding. The main driving point of the conference overall was about how to create, determine, and evaluate value.

In addition to the panels, research papers regarding sports analytics research were submitted and presented by professionals and academics. These covered some very interesting specifics of predicting or measuring in-game performance statistics such as how well different types of NBA players complement each other; predicting what kind of pitch a pitcher will throw next, given other in-game circumstances; and heat mapping various NBA players’ shots to evaluate range analytics as a measure of performance. Many paper topics were compelling and entertaining, and covered the procedures and modeling methodology taken to arrive at the results in detail.

Post-conference, the papers themselves remained online for further review (check them out here: