Business of Sports

The Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard (LISH) is actively advancing the business of sports. We partner with key industry leaders across professional sports to think through difficult business and performance problems and solve them, while extracting key insights that will have an impact on practice. Our research is advancing sports analytics through on-site field experiments that pertain to both “on-field” and “off-field” performance of sports teams.

Cutting Edge Techniques in Professional Soccer: LISH is partnering with Atlanta United (MLS) and Sheffield United (English Premiere League) to explore both “on-field” and “off-field” returns on performance using the latest experimental tactics and technology to push the boundaries on traditional models. Atlanta United is using structured and unstructured data to make key decisions in talent evaluation, while the ownership group, AMB Group, is revamping customer service and operations at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. LISH is partnering with Sheffield United to leverage data science techniques and models to draw new insights to inform on-the-field tactics.

New Business and Operating Models: LISH has explored a variety of key managerial and business questions in professional sports through the development of Harvard Business School Case Studies. Cases have focused on business strategy that explore models for value creation and value capture. For example, researchers have written a dynamic case on the Australian startup KangaTech, which examines strategies for commercializing injury prevention technology.

Field Experiments for Real-Time, Real-World Impact: LISH researchers are working with partners like the Australian Football League (AFL), AFL Clubs Geelong Football Club and the North Melbourne Football Club to address off-the-field questions, such as optimal ticket pricing, the effects of incentives on attendance and spillover effects, and on-the-field questions as it relates to data-based decision making and feedback. LISH is in early stage development of field experiments with the English Football Association that will explore the use of data and information disclosure in the organization and how it effects multiple touch points of a sports organization, from talent evaluation to training.