“Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game” is a book written by Michael Lewis about the Oakland Athletics baseball team and how they successfully used analytical, evidence-based decisions to select a competitive team with a very restrictive budget. Both Michael and the general manager at the time, Billy Beane, gave us an entertaining insight into the world of sport and mathematics at last year’s IBM Information On Demand conference in Las Vegas.
So naturally, when we set the agenda for this year’s Australia & New Zealand Business Analytics Forum we’d hoped to enlist the star of the recently launched Moneyball movie, Brad Pitt, to attend.
Clearly, we were dreaming.
When that fell through, we asked ourselves would this ability to apply analytical, evidence-based decision making work in other sports? Held the same week as the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, we decided instead of presenting our usual widget sales demonstration to our keynote audience, we would put IBM’s predictive analytics platform, SPSS, to the test and see if we could accurately predict the outcome of the race.