Santamaria ’18 Attends Sloan Conference Again

Santamaria ’18 Attends Sloan Conference Again

For the second time in as many years, Sergio Santamaria ‘18 attended the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston, Massachusetts. Santamaria attended the conference with the Houston Rockets organization as a basketball operations intern.

Sergio Santamaria

Santamaria was born in Ecuador before moving to Houston at the age of two. In high school, Santamaria identified Rice University as as his college destination because of the many opportunities the education would present to him. One such opportunity has been attending the Sloan Conference in 2016 and 2017.

“The experience itself is pretty incredible,” Santamaria said. “The people are all like-minded and share the same interests as me professionally. Being there with an NBA organization allows me many privileges and gives me opportunities to meet people through those connections.”

The 2017 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference was the 11th such gathering of like-minded individuals to discuss the increasing role of analytics in the sports industry. The conference was founded in 2006 and co-chaired by Daryl Morey and Jessica Gelman who oversee MIT students in the planning and operating of the yearly conference. Morey is the General Manager of the Houston Rockets and was a pioneer for analytics in the NBA. Gelman is Vice President of Customer Marketing & Strategy for Kraft Sports Group.

For more information about the 2017 Conference and some details about the history: Sloan Conference Webpage

The annual event has grown in attendance and reputation each year since its founding. Gelman referred to the conference as the “Super Bowl of Analytics” and mentioned that in 2016 they had more speakers than they did attendees at their first conference (175). This past year, the event was live streamed on Facebook and reached upwards of 312,000 people. Activities and panels varied from sport specific, college athletics insights, and even futuristic aspirations for streaming and stadium technology. This is truly the one stop shop for any sport analytics related ideas.

Sloan Conference

“Sport analytics is booming and there is truly no end in sight with the new technology,” Santamaria said. “Now the focus and obsession is the creation of new data points and added ways to evaluate player performance.”

Another area where Santamaria has seen success is in his time with the Houston Rockets. He has increased his responsibilities in the organization, starting as a video intern to now working directly with the analytics department as a college scout and an analyst intern for the team. Santamaria hopes to continue his work with the Rockets after his graduation in May 2018 and will continue to pursue his goals of one day becoming a general manager of an NBA organization.

“I got involved early with the Rockets and I’ve been interested in basketball operations for 5-6 years now,” says Santamaria. “At the end of the day it is just learning and learning and learning in hopes to build the connections and experiences to become a GM. Down the line, I want to incorporate my own ideas about running a team and evaluating players when I have established myself in basketball operations league wide. I’m still on step 1, but I am excited for the creativity and ideas I will develop as I continue to work towards my goal.”

Mitchell Meissner, a junior from San Antonio, Texas, is double-majoring in Sport Management and Mathematical Economic Analysis, while pursuing a minor in Business.