On Saturday, I will be moderating a panel at this year's MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, founded by Rockets GM Daryl Morey and my HBS classmate (and Patriots executive) Jessica Gelman. I think it has become one of the best sports conferences of the year, and since it was started a couple of years ago, I have wanted to participate in some way.
After bugging both Jess and Daryl, they graciously have allowed me to participate in this year's conference, including a headliner panel ("The Limits of Moneyball: What the Geeks Don't Get") that includes Mark Cuban, Bill Simmons and Bill Polian, moderated by Michael Lewis.
Although I have a massive appreciation and enthusiasm for analytics in sports, I am by no means an expert; however, I was thrilled that they wanted to expand the agenda to include a panel about sports media, a topic that I care about -- although it is questionable whether I am expert anywhere but my own mind.
Still: There we are -- "Future of Sports Journalism" -- capping (rather than, say, "ending") the day's program. It is going head-to-head with "Coaching Analytics" (featuring Nate Silver!) and "Buzzworthy Events." I hope that we can draw a crowd and that the panel holds up to its potential.
It is a great group: Rob King, Editor-in-Chief of ESPN.com; Henry Abbott, founder of TrueHoop on ESPN.com; Howard Beck, national NBA reporter for the New York Times; and Jason Fry, formerly of the Wall Street Journal and now one of the most influential thinkers on the state and fate of news media, sports and otherwise. I get to lead them in the discussion.
I have a couple of ideas about things I want to talk about, but I would really love to get your input on big issues -- particularly related to the perspective of how consumers are... well, consuming. It's my thesis -- and others' too -- that in all the navel-gazing about the news industry, there hasn't been nearly enough focus on the customer. I hope to dig into that.
But I would love to hear the issues related to sports journalism -- the "future" of sports journalism -- that you think are particularly relevant or interesting, particularly as they can be informed by the group that will be talking on the panel.
Sincere thanks for your input.
(Don't think there's a Webcam on the event, but I presume there will be a Twitter hashtag you can follow. I'll pass that along as soon as I find out. UPDATE: #sloansportsconf)