You can’t talk sports tech without at least a little bit of sabermetrics.
That’s one topic Seattle Mariners General Manager Jerry Dipoto will discuss at the second annual GeekWire Sports Tech Summit on June 21-22 in Seattle at CenturyLink Field.
We are excited to welcome the 48-year-old baseball executive on stage at our second annual Sports Tech Summit, which brings together leading thinkers in data science, sports marketing, virtual reality, wearables and more for an informative and action-packed event that includes evening cocktail receptions, fireside chats, interactive panels, live demos, a Sounders match and much more.
You can buy tickets here — early bird rates end soon.
Dipoto, a former MLB relief pitcher who appeared in 390 Major League games, has 15 seasons as a baseball executive under his belt. More recently he was GM for the Angels and helped guide the club to the American League West title in 2014, finishing with the most wins (98) in the Majors.
Since arriving in Seattle two years ago, Dipoto has revamped the lineup in a big way. As of this February, the Mariners had the most trades in the MLB (39), including 13 from the end of the 2016 season to Feb. 9.
Dipoto certainly has strong views about the use of analytics in baseball. While leading the Angels, he had disagreements with coaches over how data was utilized, with Dipoto reportedly wanting them to rely more on analytics versus feel.
“When I was playing, I was the only active player who was also an active member of SABR (Society for American Baseball Research),” Dipoto said at the press conference for his hiring in 2015. “I’ve always been interested in it. I’m a baseball junkie, always have been. I fancy myself a historian, or some have told me that’s the case. I think the game has evolved in ways that we could not have possibly imagined.”
Jesse Smith, director of analytics at the Mariners, told GeekWire that the team’s attention to analytics has undergone “immense” change since he first joined the club in 2012.
“Part of that is Jerry, and part of that is more data being available,” Smith said.
Smith noted that Dipoto “absolutely values” analytics, and is “very, very knowledgeable about baseball history and trivia.”
“Going back in time, looking at player outcomes, and leaning on baseball history is definitely something he’s very vested in,” Smith said.
But Dipoto doesn’t believe in entirely relying on sabermetrics. The Seattle Times reported last year that the GM “bristles” at the notion that he’s an “analytics guy.”
“He’s also a scout and former player,” Smith noted. “He certainly tries to blend the two together.”
We are also looking forward to welcoming another MLB executive to the Sports Tech Summit: LA Dodgers CFO Tucker Kain.
While Dipoto’s expertise falls in scouting and overall team management, Kain works heavily on the financial side of professional baseball. He was vice president at Guggenheim Partners and helped lead the group’s $2 billion purchase of the Dodgers in 2012. Now as the club’s CFO, Kain negotiates TV broadcast deals and also oversees the team’s startup accelerator.
More than 1,000 startups have applied to the program over the past two years. Participating companies have raised more than a collective $21 million since graduating from the accelerator.
“For us, the accelerator has served as an incredible funnel to get a better view of what’s going on in the broader sports and entertainment space,” Kain told GeekWire in November.
Kain, now managing director of Guggenheim Baseball Management, said he expects that accelerators will “be a real portion of what it means to operate and own a sports team.”
“The accelerator model is one that can position an organization to be open to change and innovation,” Kain said. “I like seeing other organizations do this, because one of us is going to help incubate and accelerate something that will change the face of our industry and benefit everybody.”
You can hear more from Dipoto and Kain at the Sports Tech Summit on June 22 — get your tickets here.