The good performance of the Indian cricket team in the first Test against South Africa is expected to translate into big bucks for the stars of that game.
Vice captain Virat Kohli, who scored a century and a ninety in that match, Cheteshwar Pujara who cracked a brilliant 150 and Zaheer Khan, who took four wickets in the first innings, are expected to see a spike of about 15% in their endorsement rates.
Brand experts expect Kohli, who is already India’s second-highest paid endorser along with Shah Rukh Khan, to overtake the Badshah of Bollywood.
Kohli recently inked a Rs 10-crore per annum deal with German sports goods giant Adidas, going past captain MS Dhoni, who charges Rs 8 crore per endorsement, to become the highest paid cricketer on the ad circuit. This is expected to rise further to Rs 11.5 crore.
Pujara and Khan, who charge Rs 50 lakh each, will also see their fees rise to Rs 55-57.5 lakh.
“Kohli and Pujara are filling up the vacuum created in the brand world following the retirements of Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid,” said ad-man Prahlad Kakkar.
Brand experts said Kohli’s USP, apart from his success on the cricket field, is his so-called “roguish charm”, while Pujara has created a “tireless & patient” image for himself. Also, the ad-world is likely to bring Khan back on television for a new innings following his return to the Indian team.
“Kolhi’s brand value is going up and many brands want to sign him up. However, he has become very selective and ‘niche’ in terms of availability,” said Bunty Sajdeh, chief executive officer, Cornerstone, the agency that manages Kohli’s (and Yuvraj Singh’s) endorsements.
Pujara is getting offers from real estate and financial services companies, which are keen to cash in on his “Mr Dependable” image.
“The demand for young cricketers is zooming because brands are looking for ‘men of the moment’ and also because they come at much more reasonable price tags,” said Arun Pandey, chairman, Rhiti Sports Management, which manages Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja.
Jadeja, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma are the other youngsters who are currently “hot” on the endorsement circuit.
“These youngsters should start milking their brand equity by upgrading their level of performance,” said Santosh Sood, former COO of Rediffusion Y&R.