SBD/March 1, 2011/Events and Attractions

Boston At Center Of Sports Biz World With MIT Sloan Conference

The fifth annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference starts Friday at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, where a "sellout crowd of 1,500" will attend the two-day event that has become "part trade show, part seminar, part networking hub," according to Shira Springer of the BOSTON GLOBE MAGAZINE. This year's crowd will include team owners such as the Mavericks' Mark Cuban, as well as "league commissioners, general managers, coaches, and athletes." In addition, author Malcolm Gladwell will speak. Springer notes there is a "crowded field of professional sports organizations recruiting Boston talent for jobs in the growing field of sports analytics, the development and use of complicated statistics for decision making in all aspects of the business, from player trades to on-field strategy to ticket prices." Boston provides an "ideal mix -- lots of universities, championship-winning franchises, team owners with big-business backgrounds -- for smart, young mathematicians and entrepreneurs who’d like to come up with clever new answers to the professor’s question." Some team execs "consider Boston the Silicon Valley of sports analytics." Celtics Managing Partner Steve Pagliuca "calls it a new Florence, a place of trendsetting creativity influencing teams around the world." Michael Lewis, author of "Moneyball," contends that "being on the cutting edge of sports analytics ... has been great for Boston." The Celtics ownership, Patriots Owner Robert Kraft and Red Sox Owner John Henry "all come from wildly successful business backgrounds, where number crunching is a way of life." Lewis said, "It’s amazing how dominant the Boston area teams are right now -- the Red Sox, the Celtics, the Patriots. And it really has a lot to do with embracing a new way of thinking about sports" (BOSTON GLOBE MAGAZINE, 2/27 issue).
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