Nerds on Sports Where nerds are talking about sports!

April 25, 2012

Nerds on Sports on Books: How to Win at the Sport of Business

Filed under: Nerds on Books — Tags: , , , — Willis @ 8:00 am

How-to-Win-at-the-Sport-of-BusinessI recently came across a “book” by one of my favorite Shark Tank sharks, Mr. Mark Cuban. This collection of previously written blog posts entitled How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It. As the now owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Cuban is definitely able to mix his sports metaphors and business knowledge in this mostly autobiographical selection of stories.

This book is not very long and it’s probably not going to tell you anything new, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. If you want to learn more about the early failures and successes of Cuban, this will give you good insight to that. But if you want to learn how to start your own business or how to become the next owner of your favorite sports team, all you’re going to get out of this book is a “you need to try very hard, and probably fail a couple of times.” Also, you’re going to realize that it takes a giant dose of luck to actually hit it big.

Yes, you can probably get all this stuff for free on the internet as he has just compiled some blog posts. But, the quality posts have been selected and they have been edited – Something us bloggers often fail to do.  And it’s less than $3, so he’s not asking for much.

March 6, 2012

Geekapollooza AKA Sports Analytics Conf.

This past weekend at MIT was what Mark Cuban calls “Geekapollooza,” but what everyone else calls the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.  It’s nice to see that the professional nerds on sports have their own conference. The description from their site states:

The conference goal is to provide a forum for industry professionals (executives and leading researchers) and students to discuss the increasing role of analytics in the sports industry. MIT Sloan is dedicated to fostering growth in this arena, and the conference enriches opportunities for learning about the sports business world. The conference is open to anyone interested in sports.

Though the real description is that a bunch of (usually highly educated) nerds come together with the people in sports management and discuss their idea and breakthroughs in statistics and analytics. The ESPN Numbers Never Lie team made a little video that explains the conference well:

As far as I can tell from what I saw/read/heard about coming out of SSAC these are the important stories:

  • Every sport was covered. Of course there were panels for baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey and football, but there were also panels discussing tennis equipment, like the new babolat pure strike Tennis Racquet as well as a tennis training aid.
  • Bill James is a god among nerds. He was a special guest on panels, podcasts, and ESPN interviews. I think everyone is trying to make up for the Baseball Abstracts days.
  • There was a panel dedicated to sports gambling, because it turns out that degenerates who gamble on sports have paved and are paving new roads in predictive sports analytics.
  • TicketMaster started talking about their new PriceMaster stab at dynamic ticket pricing. Probably means more expensive tickets, but maybe there’ll be a last-minute cheap-o (like myself) option.
  • EPSN was all over this thing: They has sponsorship ads in place. They had people on half the panels. They had their own panels. They were even broadcasting live.

To end this, I’ll leave you with a video of Kevin McHale, who, though not as hating as Joe Morgan, has never been a fan of all the advanced statistical analysis until (as you’ll see at about 2/3s into the video the video) he realizes that his GM (Daryl Morey) is a big fan of this stuff. So much so that he’s a co-chair at Sloan.

January 30, 2009

Sports Video Games Are Too Real!

Filed under: Video Games — Tags: , , , — Willis @ 9:28 pm

bentdI’ve written about sports video games before, and I do this for a reason. I’ve broached on topics from aussyelo lol accounts to high-end EA sports. I like sports (hence the blog) and video games (hence the blog) but I am not physically cut out for many of the sports I enjoy. Also, at times I prefer fandom to actually playing — especially those sports where’s I’d likely break bones. But has it come to a point where the games are extremely accurate simulations?

FIFA soccer (the video game) has a World Cup event. I wonder if players from the same countries dominate every time like the real World Cup?

Madden doesn’t just suck at announcing in video game form, he sucks at the real thing too:

In a recent playoff game, Mr. Madden said the New York Giants, who faced a third down with 10 yards to go, had not performed well in those situations. Seconds later, Mr. Madden’s NBC booth partner, Al Michaels, called his attention to a graphic on the screen which noted that the Giants were tops in the NFL in third-and-long situations.

Find more examples from that article in the Wall Street Journal and wonderful comments section of The Big Lead. So it seems that EA has definatly got one thing right. What about the realism of the game?

For that I turn to a monolith of Nerd on Sport — Mark Cuban. Yup, the now owner of the Dallas Mavericks who made a good chunk of his early money from selling a website to Yahoo. He wrote on his blog:

NBA Live 09 is becoming a management tool in the NBA.

That’s right – good enough to be used by the real NBA, live. And it sounds like a good plan to me. What better way to try out how some differing strategies might play out against a certain team.

So what I’m getting at, is that maybe these games have gotten to real. Is that possible — I mean it is “just a game.” Either way, if Cuban is looking for a new hire to run his NBA Live division – I enjoy Dallas, and the AA Center is very nice.

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