It may not have been obvious to those watching NHL opening night, but there were more cameras than ever pointed towards the ice. And they weren’t from your local newspaper. Over the offseason, the NHL implemented and outfitted each area with cameras that could track player and puck movement to the millisecond. With this move, the NHL fully ignited a race to find key, meaningful insights like it never had before. With the amount of data available to teams at an all-time high, and as the number of analytical GMs continues to rise, this panel brings together team analysts, analytics experts, and league executives in order to explore the current state of hockey analytics, how puck tracking has already started to shape decisions, and what it will mean even further down the road.
It’s been 45 years since Bill James started publishing the quintessential Baseball Abstract series in 1977. In that time, the use of data has transformed the game of baseball. Yet, despite how long analytics have been a part of baseball, there are always new questions that data can help answer. How will the new, supposedly less live baseball impact lineup construction? How will it impact swing style? With the introduction of robot umps, what will be the impact for catchers who are great at pitch-framing? This panel brings together baseball analytics experts, including the legendary founder of Moneyball Bill James, to discuss the current state of the game.
Kevin Clark (moderator) - Staff Writer, The Ringer
Although NFL executives may have been slower to embrace the analytics movement than their counterparts in MLB and NBA, 2021 marked the first year that every team in the league had a dedicated analytics staffer and was capped with the first GM hire from a true analytics background in Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. With every passing year, there are cutting-edge statistics being developed: Completion Percentage Over Expectation, Pass and Run Block Win Rate, among others. Join former All-Pro lineman Mitchell Schwartz, LA Rams COO Kevin Demoff, Ravens analyst Sarah Mallepalle and ESPN analytics expert Brian Burke to explore the different ways NFL teams are using analytics from roster-building to playcaling, with a special emphasis on what has for a long time been very tough to quantify: line play.
Allison Feaster - VP of Player Development & Organizational Growth, Boston Celtics
Haralabos Voulgaris - Former Director of Quantitative Research and Development, Dallas Mavericks
Katherine Evans - VP of Research and Information Systems, Monumental Sports & Entertainment
Kirk Goldsberry - NBA Analyst, ESPN
Kevin Arnovitz (moderator) - NBA Writer, ESPN.com
The NBA analytics revolution has happened: big men are shooting more three-pointers, mid-range shots have declined, and small ball lineups have seen their heyday. Now, the pace of change is slower; in fact, the number of made three-pointers and number of free-throws per game has actually declined this year. How is analytics movement evolving and why? This panel brings together high-profile figures in the basketball analytics community to discuss what further insights can be derived from the ever-increasing amounts of data available to teams.
Ross Tucker - Sports Scientist
Katie Barnes - Feature Writer, ESPN
Joanna Harper - PhD, Loughborough University
Malcolm Gladwell (moderator) - Author
Data brings important insights to better ground discussions, especially the conversation of transgender athletes. Transgender athletes are increasingly competing at the highest levels, raising the need for data to define fair play. More nuanced discussions around regulation, legislation, and overall competition are becoming commonplace. Recently, the IOC released new guidelines on Olympic participation and US states have shifted their policy under the Biden Administration further resurfacing tough conversations. Access to sports is vital for key learnings: experiencing a team, the empowerment one feels in times of triumph, and the lessons we learn in times of failure. Join Malcolm Gladwell as he leads a conversation on the path forward for the inclusion of transgender athletes in sports.
Miguel Cardona - U.S. Secretary of Education
Maura Healey - Massachusetts Attorney General
Laurie Hernandez - American Artistic Gymnast
Sue Bird - Point Guard, Seattle Storm
Shira Springer (moderator) - Journalist and Lecturer, Boston University & MIT Sloan
Sports inspire us to fight harder, train longer, and continuously strive to be the best. The lessons learned through sport are often the foundation for success later in life. Since Title IX passed in 1972, women have increasingly gained traction in leadership positions across the United States. As a law rooted in equal opportunity and prohibiting discrimination based on sex, Title IX has changed the landscape in sports and across industries. Yet, the fight for equality in sports is not over and battles continue over the law. Hear from government and policy leaders Miguel Cardona and Maura Healy alongside professional athletes Sue Bird and Laurie Hernandez on the impact to date, the current fight for law protection, and why the future of Title IX is more important than ever.
Josh Harris - Co-Founder, Apollo Global Management, Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment
Billy Beane - Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, Oakland A's
John Collins - CEO, SEAH
Jason Robins - Chief Executive Officer, DraftKings
Saj Cherian (moderator) - Partner, Kynetic
As sports values continue to accelerate, the interest and opportunities to invest in organizations around sports has intensified. From SPACs to team valuations to minority investments, the money around sports in 2021 already rivals all of 2020. As digital engagement grows, the value and means to capitalize on sports as owners, leagues, and investors identify new ways to raise funds. Sports are looking to take advantage of a high performing Wall Street despite major challenges on Main Street. Learn from the experts who are early adopters of SPACs, buying assets, creating investing arms, or going public to take advantage of this frothy market. Billy Beane, John Collins, Josh Harris, and Jason Robins will discuss their strategies and the future of sports as an alternative investment vehicle.
Mark Cuban - Owner, Dallas Mavericks
Andy Slavitt - Senior Advisor, White House COVID Response Team
Nate Silver - Editor-in-Chief, FiveThirtyEight
Of all the aspects of everyday life that data has transformed, perhaps nowhere was the impact more deeply felt than in healthcare. As friends and two leading public voices, Andy Slavitt and Mark Cuban will discuss healthcare and the role data has had, and will continue to have, in improving care and society at large. While data has revolutionized health for everyone, Andy and Mark will narrow in what data has taught us about the health of athletes, who come from diverse backgrounds, experience higher physical and mental health risks, and are exposed to inconsistent healthcare experiences.
Meghan Chayka - Co-Founder & CEO, Stathletes
Alexandra Mandrycky - Director of Hockey Strategy and Research, Seattle Kraken
Hilary Knight - Professional Hockey Player, US Women's National Ice Hockey Team
John Buccigross (moderator) - SportsCenter Anchor, ESPN
The amount of data available to NHL teams has exploded over the last year as player and puck tracking officially entered the rink. By some estimates, tracked players and pucks produce a total of 2,200 data points per second. Will this be data overload for a sport that has only recently embraced the use of analytics to drive on-ice value? And how do video analytics complement - or compete with - tracking data? How are expansion teams emphasizing data from day one to build a franchise? And what will it take to convince players, many of whom pushed back on the quality of pucks with tracking technology, to embrace analytics? This panel will dive into the world of hockey analytics, examining how teams are using the abundance of new information to help inform player personnel decisions, in-game coaching strategy, and scouting, amongst other things.
Bill James - Former Senior Baseball Operations Advisor, Boston Red Sox
Meg Rowley - Managing Editor, FanGraphs
Sarah Gelles - Director of Research and Development, Houston Astros
Josh Ruffin - Advanced Scouting Analyst, Minnesota Twins
Ben Lindbergh (moderator) - Staff Writer, The Ringer
Soon after the 2020 World Series, fundamentalist fans were quick to point to baseball’s overreliance on analytics as one of the reasons the Tampa Bay Rays lost. Baseball has always been on the bleeding edge of sports analytics, but where does the edge end? This panel aims to examine the fine line between when to make managerial decisions on gut feel, versus when to stick to the data. Did the 2020 World Series serve as a catalyst for changes to the game going forward, or will managers shrug off pressure from the media?