India skipper MS Dhoni has overtaken Virat Kohli as the country's priciest cricketer with endorsement fees of Rs 13 crore, in spite of India's loss to Sri Lanka in the recently concluded World T20 final in Bangladesh.
Dhoni's brand value has jumped by almost 60% in the last four months — a period that has seen his IPL team Chennai Super Kings battle charges of corruption and match-fixing with Dhoni's role coming under intense scrutiny. Team India has also fared poorly in this period with back-to-back losses to South Africa and New Zealand.
Till last year, Dhoni was charging about Rs 8 crore per deal per annum. He had been overtaken by Kohli last year after he signed Rs 10 crore deal with Adidas. In terms of brand fees, Dhoni stands next only to Aamir Khan, who charges Rs 15 crore per endorsement.
"Dhoni has recently signed deals with six to eight brands where he will get a share of revenues generated by those brands," said Arun Pandey, chairman, Rhiti Sports Management, which manages MS Dhoni's brand engagements.
Dhoni currently endorses 21 brands including Exide, Pepsi, Aircel and Reebok.
His team is adopting the revenue-sharing formula for all brands that come back for a renewal.
Brand experts attribute the rise of ‘Brand Dhoni' to his ability of giving consistent performances and achievements across all formats as the Team India skipper. "Dhoni's brand value has got no dent because of his consistency and stunning performances of team India," said Latika Khaneja, director, Collage Sports Management.
"Also, Indian audiences and sports lovers have a very short memory," she added.
"One of the hardest working players in the cricketing community, Dhoni captains the team for all three formats of the game for India as well as the Chennai Super Kings. His hardworking, unconventional style fits in perfectly with the culture of our brand," said Spartan, an Australian sports equipments brand, which recently partnered Dhoni in revenue-sharing agreement.