A revolution is taking place in sports, and it
parallels changes in other industries. The mining of large datasets, the
development of mathematical tools of investigation, and the high fidelity
simulation of dependent events have broadened all aspects of our understanding
of sports. When directed towards athletic games, these technical approaches are
referred to as Sports Analytics; they are pervasive. Game strategy,
play-by-play broadcasting, the evaluation and compensation of talent,
journalism, sports psychology, and fraud detection have all been altered by the
recent implementation of Sports Analytics. The pace of innovation is
In this course, we will learn some of the
fundamental and technical tools of Sports Analytics. Some specific concepts
include random variables, probability distributions, hypothesis testing,
regression, game theory, and simulation. During each class gathering,
significant time will be devoted to exploring these tools in the context of
major and minor US sports. Most of the technical manipulations will take place
in spreadsheets. There will be regular problem sets, in-class presentations,
and a group project. Many of the sessions will include a lecture from visiting
industry and academic leaders.
There are no prerequisites. However, students
should have working knowledge of Excel spreadsheet manipulation as well as some
comfort level with basic statistics.
Otis Jennings was a Columbia Business School faculty member from 2011 to 2013.