Ace cricketer Harbhajan Singh on Wednesday sold licensing rights to his name as a brand to Delhi-based License India for an undisclosed sum.
The deal, which has been dubbed as the first in the history of Indian cricket, could see the off-spinner's name being used in various types of merchandise and even in chain of restaurants as 'Bhajji Da Dhaba'.
"Licensing is a 191 billion-dollar business worldwide, although it is still nascent in India. Harbhajan is one of the most recognised faces of Indian cricket and we have signed an agreement with him to licence his brand name," License India President Gaurav Marya told reporters in New Delhi.
He said the company would explore avenues to design and develop the brand 'Harbhajan' with established firms in the field of merchandise, manufacturing and retail, besides franchise operators.
"It is very important to have one's own brand and having merchandise and a restaurant chain with my own name bring me closer to my fans," Harbhajan Singh said.
Asked about future plans with his brand, Singh said: "There will be lot of surprises, not just in apparels and accessories but in other segments also."
A brand owner would help during post-retirement years "when established brands do not ask for frequent endorsements," Singh quipped in a lighter vein.
Singh is the first cricketer to have signed a licensing agreement with License India. It had earlier entered into agreements with management guru Shiv Khera and the children's book series Diamond Comics.
"We have started the process to identify prospective partners and franchise operators for brand Harbhajan Singh. We are hopeful that the first products would roll out into the market by end of 2009," License India Business Head Anupama Bindra said.
She, however, refused to give details regarding the contract signed with the cricketer.