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Volume 20 No. 42
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Game Changers: Jessica Gelman

Gelman with the Patriots’ AFC Championship ring,
her Ivy League title ring, her wedding ring and the net
from her record-setting Harvard basketball team.
Jessica Gelman
Kraft Sports Group
VP, Customer Marketing and Strategy

When Jessica Gelman was at Harvard B-school in 2001, her business case assignment paired her with the New England Patriots, who were looking for ways to make the best use of their new stadium beyond game days. After she and her group presented recommendations to Patriots management, the team offered her a job working on the project, which evolved into what is now Patriot Place, a 1.3 million-square-foot dining, shopping and entertainment complex. “I feel very fortunate that the Krafts recognized the value [of analytics] and decided to not only hire me, but create a position for me,” said Gelman, now a vice president across all Kraft Sports Group properties. “They’ve charged me with pushing analytics and thinking about our business that way. One of the biggest challenges I saw when entering the sports industry is finding the right opportunity to bring a different approach. I have that here.”

Gelman, who led Harvard to two Ivy League basketball championships as a point guard, also has had a hand in the growing acceptance of analytics across sports as co-chair of the well-received MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.

— Bill King
  • What is the best advice you’ve ever received?: “Act as if.” No matter what you feel — tired, upset, disappointed — act as if you are at your best. From Kathy Delaney-Smith, my college basketball coach.
  • What advice would you give to yourself 10 years ago?: Don’t settle, follow your passion — and invest in Google.
  • Woman in sports business you’d most like to meet: Billie Jean King. She has had as big an influence on society (founding the Women’s Sports Foundation) as she has in business (founding a league and association).
  • My vision of success is …: To have impact, be respected by those closest to me, and fully embrace life’s experiences.
  • Outside of work and family, I’m spending a lot of my time on …: The next MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference and co-chairing the Harvard Basketball Friends Group.


“Jessica is an extremely well-rounded professional. She excels at analytics and then translating the results of her analysis into operationals. She is an invaluable member of our team.”

  • Jonathan Kraft, New England Patriots president