Call for Papers | “Innovation through Data-Driven Marketing Strategy Development in Sport” | Sport & Sponsorship-Linked Marketing Special Interest Group of American Marketing Association (AMA), August 4–6, 2017, San Francisco, CA

Abstracts should be limited to 500 – 700 words in length and be on any topic related to research or education in sport and sponsorship-linked marketing, however abstracts related to the themes discussed below are especially encouraged.

Industries across the globe are adopting more analytical approaches to decision-making. However, no other industry has the same types of analytical initiatives underway as the domain of professional and college sport. Many of the big data strategy-making processes developed in the sports industry are sparking innovative thinking in other industries. The sports industry is a leader in analytical, strategic decision-making for a variety of reasons:

  1. Customers are as analytical—and sometimes more so—about the industry’s product as the industry itself, endlessly debating metrics, statistical analyses, and implications for key decisions online and in fantasy leagues;
  2. There are multiple analytical domains to address, including game and player performance, player selection, customer relationships, business management, injury prevention, etc.;
  3. The industry has multiple output channels for its analytics, including internal analysis by teams, direct use by fans and fantasy league players, data and analytics websites, video games, and broadcast analysis and commentary;
  4. The industry’s work with analytics has been celebrated in popular articles, books and movies (Moneyball and other works by Michael Lewis in particular);
  5. The amount of data available is mushrooming, from game video to location sensors to online scouting reports;
  6. The rapid movement of coaches and general managers from one team to another has led to a viral transmission of analytical ideas across leagues (Davenport).

Today, every major professional sports team either has an analytics department or an analytics expert on staff. Data developers and young talented mathematicians are daily crunching numbers that general managers and coaches use to help determine which players they think fit their club best. Basketball is one of the best examples of how analytics have changed the way sports are played and player performance is measured. NBA teams use multiple cameras installed in the catwalks of arenas to track the movements of every player on the court and the basketball 25 times per second. The data collected provides a plethora of innovative statistics based on speed, distance, player separation and ball possession. The information is available to fans on and NBA TV (Steinberg) and is impacting the way fans interact and consume NBA content.

The popularity of data driven decision-making in sports has impacted consumer engagement by trickling down to the fans, which are consuming more analytical content than ever. This is particularly true of young adults, such as college and high school students. There are now entire websites dedicated to the research and analysis of sports statistics and how they relate to predicted team/player performance. One example is, which was started by Nate Silver. The site, which features an ESPN affiliation, has over 20 journalists counting and crunching numbers for fans to gain a better understanding of an upcoming game, series or season. Silver’s methods proved so successful in sports that he began applying them to politics (Steinberg).

Another major category of analytics in sports revolves around marketing-oriented applications. These include analytics for ticket pricing, fan loyalty analysis, promotions, social media, and fan engagement. Analytics is being used in sports marketing for advanced fan segmentation, personalization outside of the web, and optimization. The goal is to not treat all fans as if they were alike, and to develop increasingly targeted approaches to marketing based on a fan’s history and past purchases. Many teams are using social media analytics to measure fan sentiment and engagement. For example, the San Francisco Giants mine social media content to measure the “buzz” and level of engagement around the team overall, individual players, and specific games (Davenport).

Key dates

Deadline for submission of abstracts: February 15, 2017
Notification of inclusion in session proposal: February 24, 2017

Requirements for submission: Each submission should contain a 500-700 word abstract that includes the title of the paper and the names/affiliations of the authors. In addition, you must include an alphabetical list of references. The submission should be single spaced, and use 12-point Times New Roman font.

Questions & submissions should be directed to…

SPORTSIG Chair: Darin W. White, Ph.D.; Executive Director of Samford University Center for Excellence in Sports Analytics; Chair, Entrepreneurship, Management, Marketing Department, Brock School of Business, Samford University,; @Sports_Biz_Prof

For additional information about the AMA Summer Educators’ Conference visit:

About SportSIG

The mission of SportSIG is to expand the knowledge base in the field of sport and sponsorship-linked marketing and further develop the academic community dedicated to this field through collaborative scholarly activities and outputs focused on the research, teaching and practice of sports marketing. SportSIG strives to create opportunities at both the Summer and Winter AMA Conferences for participants to interact and network with key sports industry executives by facilitating programing at local professional and collegiate sports properties in the host cities. We also seek to hold a Sports Industry Keynote speaker series at each Summer and Winter AMA that highlights seminal scholars and practitioners from the sports industry. Follow us on Twitter @AMASportSIG.​

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