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Sports analytics conference brings Moneyball to Point

In 2003 author Michael Lewis published Moneyball, an investigation of how the low-revenue Oakland Athletics used a data-driven approach to identify market inefficiencies and thrive against their better-funded competitors. The book and its premise exposed a rift in baseball between traditionalist scouts and executives who relied on experienced-based “gut” and “feel” and contemporaries lacking traditional experience who instead used statistical analysis to make decisions.

Over the ensuing decade-plus the latter group has grown in stature as leaders in what has come to be known as the sports analytics movement. A new  UW-Stevens Point event aims to provide a Midwest platform for this intersection of athletics, math, science, business and more.

The Great Lakes Analytics in Sports Conference, set for July 13, is a one-day conference showcasing the latest concepts, research and innovations in the fast-growing field of sports analytics. Featuring speakers and presenters from professional and college sports organizations, the business sector and the academic community, the conference will cover innovations and evolutions in strategy, technology, training and more.

“While sports analytics has gained prominence in recent years, it is still a very young field,” says conference organizer Scott Tappa of the COLS dean’s office. “With students and faculty performing research in a variety of related fields, a strong athletic program, and alumni who have excelled at the highest levels, UW-Stevens Point is a natural location for a conference like this. Plus, this shines a light on our new data analytics program, which is off to a strong start.”

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