With captain of the Indian test cricket team Virat Kohli growing more expensive and choosy, limited overs skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni once again takes away the title of frequently-seen sports star on television.
According to the latest data by AdEx India, a division of Television Audience Measurement (TAM) Media Research, Dhoni tops the list of top 10 sports stars with the maximum commercial airtime captured in the first half of 2016, overtaking Kohli. In 2015, Kohli overtook Dhoni. Maximum commercial airtime is calculated on the basis of ad volumes in secondages.
In another list, which includes the advertisement share of Bollywood and television actors along with sports personalities, Kohli’s share of ad volume on TV has come down from the third rank (last year) to 19th this year. Bollywood actress Kareena Kapoor Khan topped the list followed by Shah Rukh Khan. Dhoni remained stable on sixth position.
Kohli’s high-brand endorsement fee could be a reason for advertisers choosing Dhoni over him, experts said.
“The current fee for signing Virat is Rs 3 crore per day, whereas Dhoni charges half of Kohli, which is about Rs 1.5 crore. This makes Dhoni more attractive and an accessible option for brands,” said an ad-maker who has worked with both the players for a commercial.
At present, Kohli captains India in Test cricket, from which Dhoni has retired. Experts say Dhoni’s retirement has impacted his endorsement fees, however, he still leads India in the short-format games.
Arun Pandey, Dhoni’s manager and chairperson of Rhiti Sports Management, which manages his brand endorsements and communication, said: “Dhoni’s new brand engagements are doing very well, and he has just signed five new brands. He now endorses 20 brands, which is a huge portfolio.”
On the contrary, Kohli is turning down brand endorsement offers.
Bunty Sajdeh, CEO of Cornerstone Sport & Entertainment, which manages Kohli’s brand engagements said: “I have turned down almost 16 brand engagement offers in the last 24 months. Our idea is not to over-expose him.”
“Moreover, Mahi (MS Dhoni) today endorses twice the brands than what Virat endorses... It could be because of difference in choices of doing business,” Sajdeh added.
Moreover, brand Dhoni is expecting another shot of boost after the release of his biopic, ‘MS Dhoni: The Untold Story’.
“After the release of biopic, his brand endorsements will go on a different level,” Pandey said while counting Dhoni’s recent brand associations with Lava Mobiles and Exide Life Insurance.
The biopic is scheduled for release this year.