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Winners at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference!


A group of IESE MBA Class of 2024 students, Chris Batchelor (USA), Juliana Marroquin (Colombia), and Joaquin Santos (Argentina) took home 1st Place in the First Pitch Case Competition, sponsored by Sony Sports Businesses, at the 2023 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. This is the first time that an international business school has won the competition since its inception.

Excited to be at the 2023 MIT Sports Analytics Conference!

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The Sloan Sports Analytics Conference is one of the foremost sports industry conferences in the world, with over 2,500 attendees representing 600+ sports organizations and 120+ teams. Speakers at the conference included CEOs and high-ranking executives from the sports world, who discussed compelling topics across the industry, such as media innovation, diversity & inclusion, and sports entrepreneurship. Joaquin shared,

The conference itself was amazing, being able to attend panels by industry leaders, such as the owner of the Boston Celtics, AC Milan, CEO of FanDuel, among others, was an experience like no other.”

The First Pitch case competition is aimed at giving MBA students a dynamic, and competitive learning experience to gain exposure to key sports business issues. Over 50 MBA teams submitted cases for the competition, and out of the three finalist teams selected, two were from IESE! The 2023 case was focused on how sports technology companies could collaborate with teams & leagues to better engage youth audiences. MBA teams had to come up with creative ideas on how to attract, engage, and monetize these potential fans as well as detail out the required investment and expected ROI.

The winning team!

Our IESE team, named “La Masia” after the famed FC Barcelona academy, focused on how FC Barcelona could leverage Sony’s technology, including AI and augmented reality functions, to improve fan interactions across Barca media platforms (whether watching live games, highlights, or other non-live content). As winners of the competition, we earned a 6-month mentorship program with Sony executives as well as the opportunity for a ‘behind-the-scenes’ look at Sony’s Hawkeye technology in action at an FC Barcelona match. Furthermore, we believe this was a great event to showcase IESE’s aptitude within the Sports, Media, and Entertainment industry. We hope to build an IESE pipeline for future participation in this competition.

Here are some takeaways from the students:

What did you enjoy or what was most memorable about the experience?

Chris: “The entire experience was surreal, from the long hours in the conference room brainstorming, to the night we found out together that we made the finals, to the nerve-racking presentation in front of the judges and audience. But the moment I’ll always remember is walking onstage in the awards ceremony to shake the hands of Daryl Morey & Jessica Gelman, two people I have followed and looked up to in the sports industry for quite some time.”

What were the key factors that contributed to the team’s success?

Joaquin: “I think the key factor was that the three of us come from very diverse backgrounds, which enriched our discussions and ideas. Chris came from a consulting / business background, Juliana being an architect and designer, and me as a Tax Lawyer/Crypto Trader. Each one of us brought a different viewpoint to the table, which pushed our team to be the best it could be.”

What advice would you give for future case participants?

Juliana: “Doing these competitions is a lot of effort, but you get to work with new people from IESE who are passionate about the same things as you. I would absolutely recommend students to compete in these types of events, as the learning curve is very steep but the experience you gain and the relationships you make is worth it.”

Joaquin: “Original and well-thought-out ideas are much more important in this type of competition than having a perfect quant analysis on a less attractive idea, therefore a significant amount of effort should be given to brainstorming before diving into a deeper financial or quantitative analysis.”

Chris: “The team really makes all the difference, so make sure that you find teammates that are just as passionate and motivated for the competition as you. Having teammates that you can trust and count on throughout the competition will make for a better overall experience and performance.”

If you are interested in Sports, Media & Entertainment (SME) and are thinking about applying to IESE, please don’t hesitate to reach out to hear more about our experience and opportunities that the MBA can provide:

  • Chris Batchelor – chris.batchelor@iese.net
  • Joaquin Santos – joaquin.santosantin@iese.net
  • Juliana Marroquin – juliana.marroquin@iese.net

Thank you to Chris, Juliana and Joaquin for writing about their experience here, congratulations again! 

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