SAP and NBA Enroll Stat-Savvy NBA Fans into New Reality TV Show: GM School

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Today’s most successful NBA GMs rely on data and analytics to make informed, accurate, and real-time decisions that translate into more wins on the court.

And as general managers (GMs) and front offices across the National Basketball Association (NBA) increasingly tap into the power of data and analytics, so too are NBA fans. In fact, since the NBA’s stats platform was introduced in 2013 in collaboration with SAP, the site has generated more than 300 million page views by fans around the world.

SAP and longtime partner the NBA recently teamed up to see if this new generation of stat-minded basketball fans could translate data and analytics into a winning formula as a GM of a fictitious NBA team.

“GM School,” which debuted last night on NBA TV, is a first-of-its-kind reality TV show that pitted four data-hungry, die-hard basketball fans against each other in a series of challenges testing their ability to use analytics to build a winning team and franchise. From participating in a mock post-game press conference to drafting franchise building blocks and selecting a starting five lineup, the contestants were put to the test under the watchful eye of an All-Star panel of judges, including Kevin McHale, Hall of Famer and former coach and GM; David Griffin, former GM; and Evan Wasch, the NBA’s senior vice president of Basketball Strategy and Analytics.

GM School, new reality show from SAP and the NBA
“GM School”

At the end, one contestant stood out from the rest: Matthew Ellis, an MBA candidate at Columbia Business School. As the winner of the inaugural “GM School” competition, Ellis will receive an exploratory interview with the NBA as well as meetings with league executives, with the hope of one day working in an NBA front office.

“Since 2013, SAP has helped transform the way that NBA fans can consume real-time stats and unique data-driven insights, making them smarter every click of the way,” said Alicia Tillman, chief marketing officer of SAP. “‘GM School’ was a fun experiment to test fans’ basketball knowledge and demonstrate how data and analytics are making fans smarter than ever before. Furthermore, this show underscores the growing importance of analytics as a highly sought-after skill set that businesses are targeting to build the workplace of the future.”

“We’re constantly looking for new ways to engage and connect with NBA fans around the world, with the help of our partners,” said Kerry Tatlock, senior vice president and head of Marketing Partnerships at the NBA. “SAP’s ’GM School’ offered fans a unique behind-the-scenes look at how technology plays a key role and the skills required to succeed in today’s NBA front offices.”

Think you have what it takes to be a GM in the ultra-competitive landscape of the NBA? Check out “GM School,” and see how you would have stacked up against the competition.

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