Students develop forecasting tool for Chicago Bulls

Bulls_ACL.jpgThe Chicago Bulls and Kellogg’s Analytical Consulting Lab have had a partnership that extends back to the spring quarter of 2012. In the fall quarter of 2014, a team of second year students (Gavin Driskill, Andres Oksenberg, Pankaj Tanwar and Bruno Valle) completed the most recent project with the Chicago Bulls as part of the course, led by Professor Russell Walker.

Since the team’s first season in 1966-67, the Chicago Bulls have evolved into one of the most iconic teams in all of sports and developed a brand recognized around the world. The Bulls organization won six NBA championships in 1991-1993 and 1996-98, and in recent years has reached the playoffs six consecutive times and made nine appearances in 10 seasons.

In addition, through community relations efforts and support from Chicago Bulls Charities, the organization has made an impact on Chicago by contributing time, materials, resources and financial donations with an emphasis on youth education, youth health and wellness, and violence prevention. Through the efforts of everyone associated with the team, the Chicago Bulls have established a tradition of excellence on and off the basketball court.

The Bulls, led by Director of Analytics Matt Kobe ’11, presented the ACL team with a merchandise and concession forecasting challenge. The team wanted to improve the forecasting of these revenue streams to help the team better plan and promote throughout the season.

Using historical data, the Kellogg team was able to develop an initial forecasting tool for the Bulls.

From there, the team added other elements that impact the forecast, including weather, day of the week and the Bulls opponent. Under the guidance of Professor Walker, the Kellogg team developed a powerful, yet simple tool the Bulls could implement.

The Bulls will use this forecasting tool to inform the merchandise planning and promotional calendar and also evaluate performance throughout the year.

“The Bulls partnership with the Analytical Consulting Lab has been great,” Kobe said. “This last quarter, the Kellogg students used data and analytics to address a key forecasting challenge for us and delivered executable recommendations that made an immediate impact to the business.”

The key findings were presented to the Bulls during a December 9 visit to the United Center.

The ACL team was thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with the Bulls and hopes that our project helps the Bulls continue to improve their business going forward.

Gavin Driskill is a second-year MBA student at Kellogg. His interests include market research and segmentation, strategy and sports business.

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