Kunal Merchant is Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for the Sacramento Kings. In this capacity, Kunal oversees a portfolio of top strategic, political and community initiatives for the Kings, with a special focus on advancing progress on the new downtown entertainment and sports complex scheduled to open in the fall of 2016. Kunal also managed the Kings delegation to the 2014 NBA Global Games series in Beijing and Shanghai, and is formulating the team’s “Greenprint” sustainability agenda.
In his previous role as Executive Director of Think BIG Sacramento, Kunal served as Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson’s chief advisor in efforts to develop a $477-million public-private finance plan for a new downtown arena, win NBA approval to keep the Kings in Sacramento, and facilitate sale of the franchise to the new ownership group led by Vivek Ranadivé.
From 2008 to 2012, he served as Chief of Staff to Mayor Johnson, where he oversaw the full range of the mayor’s strategic, management, operational, media and external relations activities. During this time, Kunal played a central role in mobilizing political, corporate and community support for the Kings and new arena. He also served as the mayor’s primary liaison on all economic development, fiscal, governance and policy initiatives.
Prior to his time in Sacramento, Kunal worked in management consulting, education, health care and economic development. Merchant graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with an A.B. in Economics, and earned his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
September 22, 2015
The NBA's Sacramento Kings have a goal: Be the greenest team with the greenest arena in the greenest state. What are they doing to achieve this?