It’s raining money for Indian cricket captain MS Dhoni. Earlier this week, the 29-year-old signed a three-year contract with the UB group worth Rs 26 crore — a deal that has catapulted him to the league of Bollywood superstars Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan. Something India’s most successful cricketer, Sachin Tendulkar is yet to do.
So, what makes Dhoni so special? “He is the best package for any brand today, he’s worked hard and groomed himself,” says adman Piyush Pandey. “Dhoni’s become polished, he can speak well and the team keeps winning under him,” says adman Prahlad Kakkar.
However, some feel his appeal is largely because of the game. “There’s only one thing in India and that is cricket,” says Olympian, boxer Vijender Singh. “Jo dikhta hai, wohi bikta hai, A cricketer is a lot more visible, our game gets over in 15 minutes, while people can see them for five days,” he adds.
While Dhoni may be raking in the moolah, it’s still peanuts compared to what International sportstars earn. Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, for instance, earns Rs 360 crore (£70 million pounds) in endorsements each year. “It’s unfair to
compare. A lot depends on the economy as well. But if you want to make a player rich, make the game rich first,” says Pandey.
Endorsement earnings of international players
Golfer Tiger Woods earns $90 million (Rs 400 crore) a year in endorsements alone
David Beckham earns $42million pounds (Rs 295 crore) a year
British athlete Lewis Hamilton recently signed a five-year endorsement contract with Mercedes, worth $138 million (Rs 622 crore)
Basket Ball player Kobe Bryant earns $45million (Rs 202crore) annually.