Stories related to "Sports". http://www.chicagobooth.edu/magazine/winter-2016/rss


Field Position

One morning last fall, before the San Francisco 49ers began their second season in a glitzy new $1.3 billion stadium, Moon Javaid, ’12, manager of business operations for the team, took a hard look at concessions. Sure, this is football. Concession sales were going to be strong. But, he asked, could they be stronger? Javaid, with his background in advanced analytics, turned to hard data for the answer. He scoured sales figures from past seasons. This led him to institute one minor but crucial change to the design of the concession stands: he redirected the queues so that they snake around stanchions, like an airport security line, at 75 points around the stadium. By the midpoint of the season, the move had increased sales by one extra transaction per line per minute since—amounting to an extra $20,000 per game, or $200,000 over the course of each season’s home games, including the preseason. It might sound like loose change—beer money—for a franchise that collected $427 million in revenue in 2014, the first season in Levi’s Stadium, in the heart of the fans and fortunes of Silicon Valley. Javaid, however, understands that the small improvements add up, and his is a top-five revenue-producing team. “In the NFL, it’s not tremendously difficult to make money,” he said. “You can do B+ work by not really doing much, and you can still be profitable. But in order to get to the next level, you need to find those little wins.”<br/><br/>


Fan Favorite

Is it gambling? Is it skill? Or perhaps the bigger question about daily fantasy sports, FBI investigation notwithstanding: Could the NFL actually learn something from the avid at-home data analysts winning big at DFS? Vince Gennaro, ’77, president of the Society for American Baseball Research, thinks so. He credits some of the current DFS boom to the popularity of the fantasy baseball played on a less-than-daily basis in the 1990s. Fans intent on winning their fantasy leagues ushered in a mainstream interest in advanced metrics. This appetite spawned a generation of websites devoted to analytics. And MLB teams actually wound up using data from those sites to support real-world decisions. “If the data is out there and in the public domain,” Gennaro said, “teams will absolutely learn from the fantasy players. But that also depends on the sport.”


In It for the Long Run

Hong Kong is famous for its glinting skyscrapers, many designed by the world’s most famous architects, and its collection of luxury retailers and five-star hotels. Yet there is another side to the city—a huge network of trails forged through the lush tropical landscape, where palm-sized orb weavers spin webs across the paths, deadly pit vipers and cobras slither, and monkeys, feral dogs, and wild buffalo roam. Perhaps it is a testament to the intensity of navigating Hong Kong’s busy and hyper competitive financial sector that ducking under spider webs and hopping over snakes can seem relaxing in comparison.