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Datapalooza spotlight: Ben R. Shields, MIT Sloan School of Management


Ben R. Shields will appear at Datapalooza 2021: Learning In Action on Friday, Nov. 19, as one of four panelists on Sports Analytics for Fostering Cutting-Edge Data Science and Expanding the Community, presented by the Sports Analytics Club Program (SACP).


Shields is a Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He studies the multibillion-dollar sports industry to identify broadly transferable management lessons in areas such as leadership communication, data-driven decision making, and innovation.


Datapalooza is an annual conference hosted by the University of Virginia’s School of Data Science that brings together more than 500 attendees from across higher education, industry, and the greater data science community.


SACP CEO and founder Robert “Dean” Clayton will guide the Sports Analytics conversation, with the following panelists participating:

  • Katherine Evans, Vice President of Research and Information Systems, Monumental Basketball;

  • Jonathan Hay, Vice President — Data, Intelligence & Analytics, Boston Red Sox;

  • Paul Lockhart-Korris, Senior Manager, Business Strategy & Analytics, San Francisco 49ers;

  • Ben R. Shields, Senior Lecturer, MIT Sloan School of Management.

Shields is the author or coauthor of three books, Social Media Management: Persuasion in Networked Culture (Oxford University Press, 2016), The Sports Strategist: Developing Leaders for a High Performance Industry (Oxford University Press, 2015), and The Elusive Fan: Reinventing Sports in a Crowded Marketplace (McGraw-Hill, 2006).


Shields also teaches in the MIT Sloan Executive Education program. He is the Faculty Director of two programs: the Formula 1 Extreme Innovation Series and the Global Executive Academy. He also serves as the CoFaculty Director of the LEAD20@MIT program with the Ruderman Family Foundation. In addition, he created and teaches the open enrollment program Analytics Management: Business Lessons from the Sports Data Revolution. Shields also teaches in two other open enrollment programs: Communication and Persuasion in the Digital Age and Maximizing Your Personal Productivity.


His other sports work at MIT includes co-hosting “Counterpoints,” the sports analytics podcast from the MIT Sloan Management Review, and teaching in the MIT Sports Entrepreneurship Bootcamp program, which is offered through MIT’s Office of Open Learning.


Prior to MIT, Shields served as the Director of Social Media and Marketing at ESPN. He oversaw social media strategy for the ESPN brand and collaborated across the enterprise to develop and implement company-wide social strategy. He also worked on marketing strategy for several ESPN brands and sub-brands, including the SportsCenter “DaDaDa” campaign and the Emmy Award-winning “It’s Not Crazy, It’s Sports” brand campaign.


Shields holds a BS and MA in communication studies and a PhD in media, technology, and society, all from Northwestern University.


Register for Datapalooza 2021: Learning In Action


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