Ben Shields


Senior Lecturer, Managerial Communication

 

Ben Shields

Ben Shields is a Senior Lecturer in Managerial Communication at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He studies the multibillion-dollar sports industry to identify broadly transferable management lessons in areas such as leadership communication, data-driven decision making, and innovation.

He is the author or co-author of three books, Social Media Management: Persuasion in Networked Culture(Oxford University Press, 2016), The Sports Strategist: Developing Leaders for a High Performance Industry (Oxford University Press, 2015), and The Elusive Fan: Reinventing Sports in a Crowded Marketplace (McGraw-Hill, 2006). 

He teaches a number of courses in the graduate programs at MIT Sloan, including Communication for Leaders, Social Media Management, Sloan Fellows Seminar on Leadership, and a new course on sports management and analytics that will be offered Spring 2020. 

For MIT Sloan Executive Education, Shields is Faculty Director of the Formula 1 Extreme Innovation Series and the Global Executive Academy and Co-Faculty Director of the LEAD20@MIT program with the Ruderman Family Foundation. Shields created and leads Analytics Management: Business Lessons from the Sports Data Revolution and the online course Management Analytics: Decision-Making Lessons from the Sports Industry. He is also faculty for Communication and Persuasion in the Digital Age and Maximizing Your Personal Productivity.  

His other sports work at MIT includes co-hosting “Counterpoints”, the sports analytics podcast from the MIT Sloan Management Review, and teaching in the MIT Sports Entrepreneurship Bootcamp program, which is offered through MIT’s Office of Open Learning. 

Prior to MIT Shields served previously as the Director of Social Media and Marketing at ESPN. He oversaw social media strategy for the ESPN brand and collaborated across the enterprise to develop and implement company-wide social strategy. He also worked on marketing strategy for several ESPN brands and sub-brands, including the SportsCenter “DaDaDa” campaign and the Emmy Award-winning “It’s Not Crazy, It’s Sports” brand campaign.

Shields holds a BS and MA in communication studies and a PhD in media, technology, and society, all from Northwestern University. 


Faculty Media

  • How to Take a Moneyball Approach to Business Data and Analytics

    Data science must become an organizational capability to inform decision-making, and these lessons from sports can help.


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  • [Innovation@Work Webinar] Lessons in Analytics Strategy: Takeaways from the Sports Data Revolution

    Although decision making in sports is different from that of other industries, the similarities can reveal how analytics, if effectively deployed, can lead to better decisions and more successful...


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  • Is It Possible to Judge Individual Talent in the NFL?

    In this Counterpoints podcast installment, Wharton’s Cade Massey argues that it’s "near" impossible. Ben Shields and Paul Michelman invited him on to make his case.


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  • So, Do Analytics Actually Work?

    Hosts Ben Shields and Paul Michelman talk with former director of sports analytics at ESPN Ben Alamar, one of sports’ leading proponents for and experts in basketball IQ.


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  • Tech Could Soon Take Over All of the Sports You Watch

    There’s never been any doubt as to whether technology companies have the resources to invest in sports rights. The question has been whether such moves made long-term strategic sense for both parties.


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  • The Simple Lessons You Can Still Learn from Sports Analytics

    MIT Sloan’s Ben Shields explains how franchises use data to make personnel, business decisions.


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  • Q&A: Ben Shields on The Sports Strategist (Part 1)

    Ben Shields is the co-author of the 2014 book The Sports Strategist: Developing Leaders for a High-Performance Industry, which delves into how sports franchises can have success off the field...


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  • Q&A with Ben Shields (Part 2)

    Ben Shields is the co-author of the 2014 book The Sports Strategist: Developing Leaders for a High-Performance Industry, which delves into how sports franchises can have success off the field...


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  • The Intersection of Sports, Technology, and Beyond

    Shields says, “Sports is a petri dish to research and better understand broader trends in business like technology adoption, media consumption, digital disruption on revenue models, and even...


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  • 3 points: Calculating Avery Bradley’s chance for DPOY

    MIT Sloan's Ben Shields breaks down Avery Bradley’s chances to be the Defensive Player of the Year.


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Contact Information

Office: E62-337
Phone: (617) 253-7782
Fax:
Email: shieldsb@mit.edu
Website:
Support Staff
Name: Helen Yap
Phone: (617) 324-0349

Teaches In

Communication and Persuasion in the Digital Age Mar 17-18, 2020 | Jul 7-8, 2020 | Oct 13-14, 2020

Management Analytics: Decision-Making Lessons from the Sports Industry (self-paced online) Nov 27, 2019-Jan 22, 2020 | Mar 11-May 12, 2020 | May 13-Jul 14, 2020 | Aug 12-Oct 13, 2020 | Oct 14-Dec 15, 2020

F1 Extreme Innovation Nov 28-28, 2019

Lessons in Analytics Strategy: Takeaways from the Sports Data Revolution

Although decision making in sports is different from that of other industries, the similarities can reveal how analytics, if effectively deployed, can lead to better decisions and more successful organizations.