Meet Debby Stroman, a PhD, UNC professor, former college basketball player and assistant coach, entrepreneur and sports business aficionado who is inspiring her students to start and launch businesses inspired by sport.
This afternoon and tomorrow at UNC, she hosts the first Basketball Analytics Summit to introduce students and others in the community to sports analytics, an avenue that’s growing in significance. She figures that the region’s strength in entrepreneurship and its basketball rivalries make it a natural place for innovation in sports business and technology to happen. Industry leaders from around the nation are coming to speak and demonstrate their technologies and capabilities using data and insights. (You can still attend. Details here.)
Topics range from fan experience & engagement, individual performance and marketing/ticketing to sport science and entrepreneurship in analytics. But the speakers will be the highlight. They include:
*A representative from ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight, the former New York Times stats and data blog that acclaimed author Nate Silver took to the sports network earlier this year. It uses data and statistical analysis to inform stories on politics, economics, science and sports.
*Also from ESPN, Statistician Dean Oliver who’s responsible for the network’s sports analytics effort.
*Ken Pomeroy will give a talk. He’s the popular college basketball rating analyst who developed a proprietary algorithm to predict the likelihood teams will advance in tournaments.
*The leading manufacturer of GPS devices, accelerometers, ball tracking devices and gyroscopes used by 80 universities and dozens of professional sports teams around the world, called Catapult Sports.
*Experience, an app developer focused on improving the fan experience at ball games, helping professional and college sports teams reward their best fans and collecting data to connect with a team’s customer relationship management system.
*An innovator of technology to improve performance and prevent injury. Atlanta-based Fusionetics has a technology and analytics platform that targets the $7 billion problem in the sports industry of inefficient training and recovery.
*Robbie Allen, CEO of Automated Insights, the Durham company that partners with Yahoo Sports and other media organizations to convert sports (and other) data into stories.
*The Charlotte Bobcats analytics, ticketing and fan experience teams.
Stroman’s initiative began two years ago with an entrepreneurship minor course in sports entrepreneurship. The summit is the first of many events she expects to have to expose her students and the community to the opportunities and innovation happening in the field.
“There are a lot of students interested in starting sport-related companies,” she says. “When you combine business and sports, we’re talking about a $300 billion industry. Technology is a big part of that.”