Our title may be a bit misleading, but did you know that some of the biggest names in sports have met annually since 2007 for an event at the MIT Sloan School of Management that Bill Simmons, ESPN columnist, has described as “dorkapalooza”? At the student-run Sports Analytics Conference, participants discuss the increasing role of analytics in the sports industry, and students have ample opportunity to network with the elite of the sports world. The sold-out 2012 conference featured a discussion titled “In the Best Interests of the Game: The Evolution of Sports Leagues,” with a commentator from ESPN, the deputy commissioner and chief operating officer of the National Basketball Association, the commissioner of the National Hockey League, the president of Boras Corporation, the executive vice president of labor relations and human relations with Major League Baseball and the chairman and executive vice president of the New York Giants as panelists.
The conference’s EOS (Evolution of Sport) Address, described on the event’s Web site as “an opportunity to present a message, an idea, or a revolutionary thought that could change the face of sport,” was first added to the conference agenda in 2011. In 2012, more than 80 discussion topics were submitted for possible inclusion in the conference, and among the 11 that were ultimately chosen and presented were “How New Concussion Technology Will Force Radical Change in Sports” and “The Power of Belief in Sports Performance Research.” Another feature added in 2011 was the First Pitch: MBA Sports Business Case Competition, in which participating teams are presented with a sports business situation and given five days in which to analyze it and develop recommendations and possible solutions that are later presented to a panel of judges. In 2012, 21 teams from 17 top business schools took part in the competition, up from 15 teams from 13 schools in 2011.
According to the second-year club co-president we interviewed, companies in this field that recruit and hire for both internships and full-time positions at Sloan include the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, StubHub, Nike, Gatorade, the Walt Disney Company and many more. While entertainment and media appear to be strong at Sloan, sports management seems to be especially robust and growing. Said the club co-president, “I came to Sloan because it had the most to offer with sports business. It’s the preeminent school for sports MBAs.”