After setting the ring on fire, Olympic bronze medal winning pugilist Vijender Kumar could hit pay dirt. Corporate strategists are eagerly looking at the Bhiwani boxer as the new sporting icon on the brand-building firmament.
On Thursday, insurance company Bajaj Allianz announced a “long-term” endorsement deal with the boxer.
The man of the moment said he was not averse to modelling, but boxing would remain is first love.
“Surely I would like to do modelling, but boxing will always be my first love. Whatever I am today, its for the game and I would like to move up with it always,” he said.
Neerav Tomar, chief executive officer, of Infinity Optimal Solutions, a sports management firm that manages Vijender’s endorsement deals, said a queue is building up to sign the boxer as a brand ambassador.
His managers expect to sign about eight endorsement deals in the coming weeks with a yearly valuation of about Rs 60 lakh per endorsement.
Tomar said the Olympic hero offers the right brand fit for a cross-section of industry segments.
Discussions are on with a sports accessory company, a beverage major, a leading telecom service provider and lifestyle clothing company.
“We expect to close a few of the deals in the coming two weeks. The deal with the sports accessory company could be for a longer period, at least till the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010,” said Tomar.
A Bajaj Allianz spokesperson said a term insurance plan for the boxer was part of the deal. “The campaign plan including a television commercial and events are being worked out,” he said.