Akshay K. Khanna joined the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils/Prudential Center in July 2015 as the head of the business strategy department, where he is responsible for driving the organization’s strategic direction and new business initiatives and investments. This includes responsibilities in aligning the ticket sales, corporate partnerships, marketing, fan engagement, and customer acquisition functions of the teams, as well as advancing the growth of the combined Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils organizations.
Over his past year and a half with the Sixers organization he has played a crucial role in initiating some of the sports industry and NBA team’s most innovative and groundbreaking business decisions. Under Khanna’s guidance the Sixers have become the first team in North American professional sports to acquire and merge two eSports teams; launched the most dynamic Innovation Lab managed by a professional sports team in the United States; developed a groundbreaking ticketing platform that has revolutionized the live event industry and ticketing ecosystem; and signed a landmark agreement to become the first professional team in “Big Four” North American sports with a jersey patch sponsor.
Khanna was recently selected to be a part of the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 class in 2017. In addition to his duties at the Sixers, Khanna was an Adjunct Professor of Sports Business for the Sports Administration graduate program at Northwestern University’s School of Professional Studies. Additionally, he serves as an Industry Expert for Columbia University’s online Sports Business program. In May, 2015 he published a case, The Philadelphia 76ers: Innovation at the Forefront of a Sports Business Turnaround, for The Wharton School of Business Wharton Digital Press. He currently guest lectures at a class on Sports Business Methods for The Wharton School of Business MBA program.
Khanna will deliver an individual lecture on innovation in the sports industry at the revered Sloan Analytics Conference in March, 2017. He has previously been invited to speak on the connection between the NBA and eSports at the TEAMS Conference (2016) and has additionally spoken at the Landmark Media and Technology Summit (2016) on innovation and the sports business landscape. Khanna is a regular guest lecturer at the Wharton School of Business’ graduate and undergraduate programs, leading discussions on sports innovation and the use of analytics for ticket pricing, sponsorship, marketing and fan engagement. He was invited to speak at the Lauder Graduate Association Weekend in 2016, on the importance of sports brand recognition and growth.
Before joining the 76ers, Khanna served as an Associate at Sycamore Partners, a consumer retail-focused private equity firm in New York City with more than $3.5B under management. While at Sycamore Partners, Khanna was involved in evaluating and executing leveraged buyouts and assisting portfolio companies with strategic initiatives and add-on acquisitions. Prior to Sycamore Partners, Khanna was an Analyst at Audax Group, a middle-market private equity firm in Boston with more than $9B in assets across its equity, mezzanine debt, and senior debt businesses.
Khanna earned his A.B., graduating magna cum laude from Middlebury College. He graduated with honors with an MBA from The Wharton School and an MA in International Studies from The Lauder Institute at The University of Pennsylvania. Khanna serves on the National Executive Committee for Minds Matter, an education non-profit, and on The Wharton Club of Philadelphia Board. He currently resides in Center City, Philadelphia.