OR in Sports

The mission of the Section on OR in Sports (SpORts) is to promote and disseminate research and applications among professionals interested in theory, methodologies, and applications of operations research and management science to sports problems.  The Section on OR in Sports will interact with many other INFORMS Sections/Societies, interweaving research from their areas to create new ideas for analysis of sports problems.

2006 - 2008 Section Officers:

        James J. Cochran (jcochran@cab.latech.edu)
Vice Chair - Programs:
        Joel Sokol (jsokol@isye.gatech.edu)
Vice Chair - Publications:
        Michael J. Fry (mike.fry@uc.edu)
Secretary - Treasurer:
        Jeffrey W. Ohlmann (jeffrey-ohlmann@uiowa.edu)

OR in Sports Bylaws

    Join OR in Sports! (Click on this link to download a PDF application form.)

SpORts News:     

8/20/08 2nd International Conference on Mathematics in Sport: The Institute of Mathematics and Its Applications announces the 2nd International Conference on Mathematics in Sport at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands, June 17-19 2009.  Topics at the conference include: Econometrics in Sport; Competitive strategy; Match outcome models; Decision support systems; Analysis of sporting technologies; Analysis of rules and adjudication; Performance measures and models; Optimisation of sports performance; Mathematics education and sport, Optimal tournament design and scheduling; Computationally intensive methods.

Abstracts should be submitted to amy.marsh@ima.org.uk or on-line at http://online.ima.org.uk/ by 16 January 2009. Paper submission for conference proceedings by 27 March 2009. Extended papers for consideration for fully refereed special issue (journal and publisher to be advised) 31 July 2009. General enquiries concerning conference arrangements should be sent to: Amy Marsh (email: amy.marsh@ima.org.uk).


7/02/08 SpORts Newsletter Posted: Please check out the latest OR in SpORts Newsletter! This issue includes contributions from Wayne Winston describing his work with Jeff Sagarin evaluating players in the NBA, inside tips from Joel Sokol on generating media interest for your SpORts projects and a book review of The Wages of Wins. The newsletter also includes a comprehensive update from SpORts President Jim Cochran and exciting news about upcoming SpORts-related conferences and events. Please send any comments/feedback to Mike Fry at mike.fry@uc.edu.


5/28/08 17th Annual Arnoff Lecture: “Sports Scheduling and the Practice of Operations Research”: Michael Trick, Professor of Operations Research at the Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, will present his work dealing with the application of operations research to scheduling sports leagues.
ABSTRACT: Major League Baseball is a multi-billion dollar per year industry that relies heavily on the quality of its schedule. Teams, fans, TV networks, and even political parties (in a way revealed in the talk) rely on the schedule for profits and enjoyment. Only recently have the computational tools of operations research been powerful enough to address the issue of finding “optimal” schedules. Trick will discuss his experiences in scheduling college basketball, major league baseball, and other sports, and show how operations research is revolutionizing the way sports scheduling is done.

7:00 P.M., Wednesday, June 4, 2008, 8:00 P.M. Reception, 112 Carl H. Lindner Hall, College of Business, University of Cincinnati: 
Sponsored by the Department of Quantitative Analysis & Operations Management
University of Cincinnati  College of Business, http://www.business.uc.edu/departments/qaom/arnoff
Free & Open to the Public. For more information, call (513)556-7140 or email David.Rogers@UC.edu


4/15/08 Symposium on Statistics and Operations Research in Baseball: The second Symposium on Statistics and Operations Research in Baseball will be held on July 16, 2008, at the Leonard N. Stern School of Business of New York University. The symposium is sponsored by the Stern School, the Section on Statistics in Sports of the American Statistical Association (ASA), and the Section on Operations Research in Sports of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). The goal of the symposium is to bring together academics interested in sports modeling, professionals who use or report on mathematical models in sports, and "numbers-savvy" baseball fans to discuss topics of mutual interest. The symposium will consist of a morning panel discussion, lunch, short (20-25 minute) afternoon talks, and an evening reception. The theme of the symposium this year is (loosely defined) "The Economics of Baseball," and topics that will be discussed include municipal support of the building of baseball stadia, competitive balance in major league baseball, the selection and valuation of high school, college, minor league, and major league players, and the effects of performance enhancing drugs on performance.

The website for the symposium is http://ssorb08.sectioninsports.org.

4/3/08 2008 Northern California Symposium on Statistics and Operations Research in Sports: The 2008 Northern California Symposium on Statistics and Operations Research in Sports is now accepting abstracts. The complete call for papers may be found at www.ncssors.wikidot.com.


8/24/07 2008 Joint Pre-Olympic Congress on Sports Science and Engineering: This conference will be held in Nanjing, China on August 5-7, 2008 (just before the Beijing2008 Olympic Games, which start on the evening of 8th August). This is a good chance to get together to discuss our favorite topics (statistics and sports) and experience the Olympic Games in Beijing. The congress, which will be organized by the IACSS (International Association of Computer Science in Sport) and Nanjing University of Science and Technology, will focus on Computation, Mathematics, Engineering, Mechanics, Management, Modelling, Statistics, Operations Research, Economics, Physics, and System Engineering in sports. Nanjing should also provide the congress participants with many other opportunities. The city, with a population of over five million, has been the capital of China several times, and so has a rich cultural history. It is surrounded by the Yangtze river and encircled by mountains and hills, and the center of the city features the Xuanwu and Mochou lakes and Purple Mountain. Nanjing is a ninety minute flight from Beijing and a two hour high-speed train ride from Shanghai.

If you are interested in giving a presentation in an Operations Research in Sports session at the 2008 Joint Pre-Olympic Congress on Sports Science and Engineering, please contact Jim Cochran by October 15 to be included in the program. For more information about the conference, please visit the official conference website at http://olympiccongress.org


8/06/07 SpORts Officers Featured in BusinessWeek and USA Today: Jeff Ohlmann, Assistant Professor of Management Sciences at the University of Iowa, and Mike Fry, Assistant Professor of Operations Management at the University of Cincinnati, have been featured in an article in the Up Front Section of BussinessWeek as well as in an article in USA Today's Sports Weekly for work they completed with Andy Lundberg on developing a tool to aid decision making in sports drafts. The tool uses dynamic programming and linear programming models to help sports teams choose the best available players in a sports league draft. The BusinessWeek write-up can be found here (see item on "That's Some Dream Team"); the article from USA Today Sports Weekly is here (see "Trust the Numbers"). A technical description of the work can be found in the Journal of Quantitative Analysis of Sports at http://www.bepress.com/jqas/vol3/iss2/5.


6/08/07 Symposium on Statistics and OR in Baseball: The Symposium on Statistics and Operations Research in Baseball will be a meeting of the baseball, industrial, and academic worlds held on July 11 in conjunction with the MLB All-Star game. The focus is on how Statistics and Operations Research methodology is used within baseball and associated businesses and on how baseball inspires the expansion of the frontiers of Statistics and Operations Research as scientific fields. The Symposium will have a panel discussion moderated by Mike Siano of MLB.com's Baseball Channel in the morning, which will be edited for broadcast on MLB.com later in the week. In the afternoon, there will be short seminars. Joel Sokol, SpORts Vice Chair - Programs, is one of the invited speakers. SpORts members may attend free with advanced reservations. Please see http://july11.sectioninsports.org for more information.

5/01/07 New England Symposium in Sports:
Announcing the inaugural New England Symposium in Sports Conference (http://www.amstat.org/chapters/boston/nessis07.html) to be held at Harvard University Science Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Saturday, September 29, 2007. It is a meeting of statisticians and quantitative analysts connected with sports teams, sports media, and universities to discuss common problems of interest in statistical modeling and analysis of sports data. The meeting will be sponsored jointly by the Harvard University Department of Statistics, the Section on Statistics in Sports of the American Statistical Association, the Boston Chapter of the American Statistical Association, and the Section on Operations Research in Sports (SpORts) of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.  The symposium format will be a mixture of talks and posters, as well as a panel discussion.

Abstracts for talks and posters are now requested; the submission deadline for abstracts is May 31, 2007. Please e-mail abstracts as a Word or plain text file by May 31, 2007, to nessis07@gmail.com for consideration to be on the program.


9/26/06: SpORts and TMQ: Gregg Easterbrook, visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of the weekly article "Tuesday Morning Quarterback" on ESPN Page 2, discusses the decision of when to go-for-it instead of punting on fourth down in the NFL. Easterbrook references a paper by David Romer of the University of California-Berkeley that uses dynamic programming models to show that coaches are much too conservative in deciding when to go-for-it and when to punt in football. Click here to see the TMQ article. Click here to read Professor Romer's paper which has been accepted at the Journal of Political Economy.


9/21/06: SpORts Business Meeting at INFORMS and Officer Elections: The section on OR in SpORts' annual business meeting is scheduled for Monday, November 6 (during the upcoming INFORMS Conference in Pittsburgh) from 6:15 p.m.-7:15 p.m. Please check the program for the location of this meeting, and send me any items you want to add to the agenda by Friday, October 20.
The section on OR in SpORts' biannual elections are scheduled for this business meeting; the current officers (James J. Cochran, Chair; Joel Sokol, Vice Chair - Programs; Michael J. Fry, Vice Chair - Publications; and Jeffrey W. Ohlmann, Secretary - Treasurer) will each run for reelection. Other nominations (including self-nominations) for these four offices (Chair, Vice Chair - Programs, Vice Chair - Publications, and Secretary - Treasurer) for the 2006-2008 term are encouraged. To nominate someone for one of these offices, contact SpORts Secretary - Treasurer Jeff Ohlmann at jeffrey-ohlmann@uiowa.edu or (319) 335-0837 with i) the name and contact information of the nominee and ii) office for which s/he is being nominated by Friday (September 29) at 9:00 a.m. CDT. After this deadline, the slate will quickly be established and distributed by INFORMS to all members in good standing. All votes will be submitted electronically to INFORMS (prior to a deadline still to be determined), where the results will be tallied (i.e., the current officers will not have access to the votes or be involved in the election process). The results will be announced at the section's business meeting in November. If you are interested and want more information, contact any officer to discuss the responsibilities and duties of these offices.


9/18/06: SpORts Featured in BusinessWeek! Jan Vecer, Professor of Statistics at Columbia University and Editorial Board Member of the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, is featured in the September 18 edition of BusinessWeek. Professor Vecer has created software program that is designed to predict the winner of a tennis match as the match progresses. Professor Vecer's algorithm constantly recalculates the odds of a player winning after each point is scored. To read more about Professor Vecer's model and software, CLICK HERE.

4/14/05: Inaugural Issue of Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports Published: The premiere issue of the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports has just been published!  You can view the issue by going to http://www.bepress.com/jqas.  This issue has several articles that will be of interest to SpORts fans including articles on college football rankings, procedures for predicting records in sports and an overview article on the possibilities for SpORts-related research applied to football written by Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders, Inc.  The Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports is published by the Berkeley Electronic Press and has a stated aim "to be a general forum for scholars with a strong interest in quantitative methods and sports."  The journal's full aim and scope can be found here; the Editorial Board is listed here.  


4/14/05: Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports: A new SpORts-related journal has been launched by the Berkeley Electronic Press.  Click here to learn more about the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports.

3/28/05: Inaugural SpORts Newsletter now available!
  The first ever SpORts Newsletter (in PDF format) can be found by clicking here.  Thanks to all of our contributors.  Please look over the newsletter and send any comments regarding content, layout or future contribution suggestions to Mike Fry.


2/24/05: ORMS Today article on SpORts in the Classroom by Jim Cochran.


12/22/04: Check out INFORMS Transactions on Education's Special Issue on SpORts in the OR Classroom.


12/17/04: Organize a SpORts session for New Orleans! If you would be interested in organizing a session related to OR in Sports for the INFORMS - New Orleans conference in November 2005, please contact Joel Sokol or Jeff Ohlmann.

10/25/04: Inaugural SpORts Meeting: The first meeting of the OR in Sports Society was held at the INFORMS Denver Meeting.  Officers were officially elected and plans for establishing a successful society were discussed.  Minutes for the meeting can be found here.

SpORts Jobs:


8/20/08: ESPN Stats & Analysis Positions. See linked PDF document for information on job openings in the Stats and Information Group at ESPN. To apply for one of the positions go to http://www.espn.com/joinourteam. For more information contact Samantha Rudolph at Samantha.T.Rudolph@espn.com.


SpORts Newsletter Archives:

Spring 2005

Spring 2007

Summer 2008

SpORts Links:

American Statistical Association Section on Statistics in Sports 

Association for Professional Basketball Research - basketball's answer to SABR

Baseball Engineering Library - a collection of baseball related research

Baseball Prospectus - in-depth baseball analysis

Baseball Reference.com - a reference site with lots of baseball related info 

Baseball Stats Archive - tons and tons of baseball statistics

Basketball-Reference.com - good site for basketball related statistics

82games.com - lots of statistical analysis and commentary on the NBA


Football Outsiders - interesting observations on football, often with a quantitative slant

Hoops Analsyst - in-depth NBA analysis

INFORMS Transactions on Education Special Issue: SpORts in the OR Classroom

International Journal of Sports Science and Engineering

Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports
NBA Statistical Analysis Central - lots of links to analytical sites for basketball

NCAA Sports Statistics - lots of stats for college sports

ORMS Today Article on OR and the World Cup

Poologic - a Java applet for picking your NCAA Tournament bracket (several based on Ed Kaplan's work)

Sabernomics - economic thinking about baseball

SABR: Society for American Baseball Research

Sports Illustrated.com

The Sports Economist - multi-author blog that focuses on economic issues and analysis in sports

Sportsology - all sorts of news from the world of sports

Strat-o-Matic - baseball simulation game

Team Support Systems - develops decision support systems for team related sports
TwoMinuteWarning.com - from makers of 82games.com, but applies statistical analysis to the NFL

The Wages of Wins Journal - blog maintained by the authors of the book The Wages of Wins

WhatIfSports.com - simulation games for many different sports

WINVAL - The Washington Times - WINVAL was developed by Wayne Winston and Jeff Sagarin for rating basketball players


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