In the world of sports and business there is no larger and more important summit than the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. From humble beginnings, Sloan, as it’s affectionately named, has ballooned into a gathering of nearly 3,000 sports nerds. The opening panel of this year’s conference featured luminaries like political statistician/bespectacled Nostradmus/Time Lord Nate Silver, noted author and professional smiler Michael Lewis, and the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks/failed celebrity dancer Mark Cuban. But not all of the weekend’s panels were so high-profile. Here’s a list of some of this year’s lesser-known presentations:
Moneyball Has Never Won a Championship – Brian Burke’s one-man performance piece. The former head of the Toronto Maple Leafs stands on stage, drinks good Canadian Whiskey, and rails against the use of analytics in sports. Note: The audience will be provided tomatoes to do with as they please.
The Goldsberry Effect – How many infographics does it take to break David Lee’s spirit?
Performance Engineering: The Next Evolution of Athlete – Robot legs are not as far away as you think. Case in point: Adrian Peterson.
It Was Over When You Picked up the Phone – Daryl Morey, Sam Presti, and R.C. Buford give us an insider’s perspective on the inner workings of NBA trades while laughing maniacally at the other 27 NBA GM’s.
Enhancing Community Partnerships – An overview of franchise owners’ best practices when extorting cities to pay for new arenas.
FourLoko and the WWE – A look at the dark side of sports sponsorships. It’s not all Hanes and AMEX.
Why (Not) Always Me? – Under Armor presents their new line of quotable undershirts for the seriously misunderstood athlete.
The Science of Randomness – Jeff Goldblum, in character as Dr. Ian Malcolm, rocks a leather jacket hard and discusses the role of chaos in sports.
The Over/Under Hedge Fund – A detailed explanation of how sports gambling is the best way to diversify your investment portfolio in the new economy.
To Crash or Not to Crash – Many of the finest minds in Auto Racing agree, it’s best not to crash (or split infinitives.)
Death Row in the Front Row – A quantitative analysis of how having rappers in attendance can affect the outcome of NBA games. Questions to be answered: Why does every NBA arena hate Lil Wayne? Is it really necessary to know who Wale is?
Front Office Fridays – An in-depth discussion of how the last business day of the week is also the best time to unceremoniously fire personnel and cut players.
IBM Presents: The Cleveland Scale – Using this cutting-edge technology, franchises can now see exactly how depressed their fanbase is in real time.
The Arrested Development of Fantasy Sports – Does prepubescent exposure to Matthew Berry guarantee you’ll never get a girlfriend?
Doping with Douchery – Barry Bonds and Lance Armstrong were a-holes long before they were cheaters. Does a caustic personality or a general disregard for others enhance athletic potential?
Hidden Under the Cap – A look at the next-generation lubricants pitchers will use to enhance their breaking balls. Hosted by Chelcie Ross.
Sticks and Stones Will Break My Bones But Fines Will Never Hurt Me – Mark Cuban only agreed to attend if we allowed him to host a panel. He demanded we use this exact title. He also demanded a soap box.