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GeekWire SportsFor the first time, GeekWire will be reporting live from the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference (SSAC) — also known as the “Super Bowl of Analytics” — in Boston this weekend.

sloanconferenceFounded 10 years ago by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey and Kraft Sports Group executive Jessica Gelman, the annual event hosted by MIT is focused around how data and analytics are impacting the games we love to watch and play.

The agenda for Friday and Saturday is jam-packed with panel discussions that range from how front offices are utilizing big data to make team personnel decisions, to how technology is changing the fan experience. Sports analytics pioneers like Billy Beane and Nate Silver are scheduled to speak, along with a host of other innovators, entrepreneurs, players, coaches, and executives. GeekWire won’t be the only Seattle representative at the conference — Seattle Storm and women’s basketball legend Sue Bird will speak about her interest in analytics.

Beyond the panels, there is a research paper competition that highlight more advanced and futuristic uses of sports analytics, in addition to a “Shark Tank”-like startup trade show.

Shaquille O'Neal - CES 2016
We talked sports tech with Shaquille O’Neal at CES in January.

We’ve been ramping up our coverage of the intersection between sports and technology at GeekWire — sign up for our weekly newsletter here — and I’m looking forward to reporting as much as possible from this year’s SSAC, bringing you an inside look at the current state of the sports tech world.

Given the growing interest in this new field, GeekWire is hosting the inaugural Sports Tech Summit on July 12-13 where we’ll bring together professionals, investors, entrepreneurs and fans in sports and technology for a full day immersive and interactive summit focused on learning, networking and idea exchange. You can buy tickets here.

For this weekend, some themes to watch for include advancements in wearable technology; in-stadium technology that helps engage fans; the increasing value of not only collecting data, but crunching it; how sports science is maximizing athletic performance; the rise of eSports; and the controversial state of daily fantasy sports.

Forbes has a good run-down of the SSAC and its evolution over the past decade, a time during which the utilization and importance of sports technology and analytics has only increased. It notes how HBO’s Bill Simmons once described the conference as “Dorkapalooza,” though the event certainly attracts more than just the sports data geeks. The first conference took place inside an MIT lecture hall; this year, nearly 4,000 will descend upon the Boston Convention Center.

You can follow all of our coverage here, or follow me on Twitter for updates throughout the weekend — the #SSAC2016 hashtag will be good to track, too. Stay tuned for some awesome insight into the world of sports technology.

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