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2015 New England Symposium on Statistics in Sports Sets Record Attendance

1 December 2015 98 views No Comment
Scott Evans and Mark Glickman

The 2015 New England Symposium on Statistics in Sports (NESSIS) was held September 26 at the Harvard University Science Center in a symposium format featuring a mixture of invited talks, a poster session, and a panel discussion.

Attendees pack the auditorium to listen to Brian Macdonald of the Florida Panthers.

Attendees pack the auditorium to listen to Brian Macdonald of the Florida Panthers.

NESSIS was established to enhance the communication and collaboration between statisticians and quantitative analysts connected with sports teams, sports media, and universities. The first NESSIS was held in 2007, and continued enthusiasm inspired NESSIS to be held biannually. NESSIS drew 110, 125, 150, and 180 registrants in 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013, respectively. The 2015 NESSIS drew a diverse crowd of approximately 240 registrants, including attendees from at least six countries and 25 states.

NESSIS was highlighted by featured talks. First, Stan A. Veuger of the American Enterprise Institute gave the talk “Football Under Pressure: Assessing Malfeasance in Deflategate.” The second featured talk was a presentation by Carl Morris, professor emeritus of statistics at Harvard University, titled “Comparing Sports Performances Using Counts and Rates.” Hannah Frick of University College-London delivered another featured talk, titled “Monitoring Fatigue—How Do Physical Status, Wellness, and Training Load Relate?”

NESSIS also featured a panel discussion, “Hockey Analytics in the NHL,” consisting of panelists Brian Macdonald of the Florida Panthers; Michael Peterson of the Tampa Bay Lightning; and Andrew C. Thomas of the University of Florida, who is also a consultant to the Minnesota Wild. Michael Schuckers of St. Lawrence University served as the moderator.

Abstract submissions to NESSIS included statistical applications to baseball, basketball, football, hockey, tennis, golf, soccer, cricket, Australian football, and more. Abstracts were critically screened to keep content quality high. Peer-reviewed NESSIS proceedings will be published in two tracks. Methodologically focused papers were invited for submission to the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, while application-focused papers were invited for submission to the Journal of Sports Analytics. All presenters, including those giving talks and posters, were invited to submit.

The reasons for running a sports statistics symposium are predicated on the need for advanced analytic methods in games and sports. The use of statistical methods in sports applications is growing rapidly. Sports teams use statistical analyses to evaluate players and game strategies, and sports associations develop ranking and ratings systems of players and teams. The evolution of the application of statistics to sports continues to be enhanced by extensive collaboration and interaction between sports analysts and professional statisticians.

Unfortunately, opportunities for this collaboration are still relatively uncommon, since academic statisticians often work in isolation on developing statistical methods for sports applications, while sports organizations often do not have access to well-trained statistical expertise and cutting-edge statistical tools for the analysis of sports data. The main goal of NESSIS is to bridge this gap.

NESSIS is sponsored by the Statistics in Sports Section of the American Statistical Association, Boston Chapter of the ASA, Harvard University Department of Statistics, ESPN Stats and Info, DataRobot, National Basketball Association, DeGruyter, and IOS Press.

The NESSIS founders hope the enthusiasm generated by NESSIS will increase the collaboration between academic statisticians and analysts connected with sports teams and improve the quality of statistical design and analysis in sports. Future NESSIS events will continue to encourage the development of cutting-edge statistical thinking in sports applications and adaptations to evolving data-collection technologies.

Technical talk videos, presentation slides, photographs, and additional information about NESSIS can be found on the NESSIS website.

Look for NESSIS VI in 2017!

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