The Data Chief
The Data Chief
Aug 16, 2023
How to find and retain data team talent with the VP of Analytics at the Milwaukee Bucks
Play • 45 min

In this episode of The Data Chief, hosts Cindi Howson and Sonny Rivera interview Sumathi Thiyagarajan, the VP of Business Strategy and Analytics for the Milwaukee Bucks and Fiserv Forum. Sumathi discusses being a data leader in professional sports, building a data team from the ground up, and leveraging insights to continually provide the best fan experience. 

Tune in to learn:

  • Making the transition to a professional sports team (2:42)
  • The evolution of Sumathi’s role and team (4:58)
  • The growing importance of data across the NBA (10:02)
  • Unique challenges Sumathi faces in her role with the Bucks (12:01)
  • Creating personalized fan experiences (14:38)
  • Using data to increase the team’s visibility in the marketplace (18:12)
  • Finding (and keeping) strong data team talent (22:31)
  • Building a talent pool through a successful hackathon (26:20)
  • Coaching and developing a diverse data team (29:07)
  • Addressing the challenges of fragmented data (33:50)
  • Driving innovation for the Bucks (and across the NBA) (37:35)


Get even more insights from data and analytics leaders like Sumathi on The Data Chief. is a media studio producing content for world-class clients. Learn more at

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