Manager of Basketball Administration
Many sports fans dream of working for a professional sports team, but Spencer Anderson (MBA/JD ’13) actually does. He is the Manager of Basketball Administration for the Indiana Pacers, which is a position that only recently opened thanks to professional sports teams’ rising interest in data.
Anderson uses a program called SportVU, a player tracking technology built by STATS LLC that utilizes cameras to record every movement on the court many times per second. According to the STATS website, this program allows Anderson to gather statistics on players and teams, such as “speed, distance, player separation and ball possession data.”
NBA franchises are looking for data analysts who have strong communications skills and understand the sport, as well as how to pull actionable insights out of data. Many of these insights revolve around defense – the side of the ball that’s tricky to measure using traditional statistics. For example, how much should players help their teammates on pick-and-rolls? Anderson supports his team by interpreting the statistics captured by the SportVU system. His analysis helps shape personnel decisions, including the draft, trades, salary cap management, and performance measurement. However, Anderson emphasized that SportVU is only a piece of the puzzle, and it is difficult to quantify everything.
Anderson began his full-time position in August, and our alumni network was vital in landing the role. Another Tippie alumnus, Mitch Tanney (MBA ’12), started his post-MBA career working for STATS LLC’s Sports Solutions Group (SSG), which developed and marketed SportVU. Using this connection, Anderson joined the SSG team as a 2012 summer intern to help them develop SportVU metrics and SportVU’s ICE platform.
Before working with the SSG, Anderson obtained an internship with the Pacers after meeting Peter Dinwiddie, Pacers VP of Basketball Operations, on a Sports Law Society trip in 2011. Anderson followed up with him at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference later that winter.
Anderson achieved entry into his dream career through Iowa’s many opportunities to connect with professionals in his chosen field. Being a part of the Tippie Alumni Network has proven beneficial for Anderson and thousands of alumni like him. You can do it, too, with the power of I.