SMGT 477 offers students the opportunity to work with the Houston Rockets in Business Analytics

SMGT 477 offers students the opportunity to work with the Houston Rockets in Business Analytics

As every Sport Management student knows, nothing beats the experience of applying your knowledge to real-world problems. This Fall, thanks to the Department of Sport Management’s relationship with the Houston Rockets, a select group of students will have the chance to hone their analytics skills by enrolling in a course that incorporates real data from the Rockets organization.

Winston Lin

Students have the opportunity to special register for the SMGT 477 course, officially named Professional Sports: Business Analytics. The class will informally be nicknamed “Rocketball”, as the course material will be prepared and mostly presented by Winston Lin, Director of Strategy & Analytics for the Rockets. Lin has previously been involved with Rice Sport Management through giving special lectures in Sport Management courses and even serving as a mentor for Julia Finch ’17.

“Winston was trying to look for a way to get more Rice students involved with the Rockets organization and this course became a logical way to do it,” said Associate Professor James G. Disch, P.E.D.

Lin will make available non-proprietary data from the Rockets and ask students to analyze real questions relevant to his work.

Dr. Disch

“Students will be provided analytics data and also the skills of analysis. They will see the approaches that the Rockets use to look at their business problems,” said Disch. “Lin’s department works with every department on the business-side of the organization including sponsorships and ticketing.”

Disch said the specific course material is a work in progress, but students will likely be tasked with general marketing issues such as further understanding the Rockets fanbase and investigating how to produce targeted marketing to select groups. The course will not cover analytics of in-game basketball data.

According to Disch, students who are pursuing the Sport Analytics concentration in the Sport Management major will already have many of the necessary analytics skills for the course. They should be excited about the opportunity to now work with actual professional sports data.

The course will be worth three credit-hours and will have an approximate size of 15 students. Students interested in enrolling in the class should contact Disch directly.

Elliot Stahr, a sophomore from Irvine, California, is double-majoring in Psychology and Philosophy.