The year 2017 has turned out very well for the new captain of the Indian cricket team, Virat Kohli. With back-to-back wins in Test and T20 matches so far, he is definitely the man of the moment. Not surprisingly, brands are leaving no stone unturned to get on board as he breaks the barriers of cricket. “Young men want to be like him and girls love him. Unlike his predecessors, who mostly had cricket-loving fans, Kohli is a complete package,” says Atul Srivastava, managing partner at Games Unlimited.
The 28-year-old cricketer started his brand ambassador journey with Titan’s Fastrack in 2010. The deal made then was that of a mere amount of R25 lakh. Today, Kohli charges a whopping R4 crore per day. Since 2014, brand Kohli has been on the rise and he is already a youth icon, with endorsements of brands like Pepsi, Audi, Tissot, MRF, Punjab National Bank, American Tourister, Nitesh Estates and Manyavar, among others. Kohli is in a unique position as he is a clear number one in terms of sporting icons currently; hence his brand endorsement kitty is only expected to increase further.
Agrees Harish Bijoor, brand expert and founder, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc, “Virat has a solid game to his credit. Add to it his style. Add his aggression. And you have a combination that is the darling of every brand.”Like most endorsers, in the beginning it had been about the big bucks, but as Kohli’s career graph grows, he has become selective about which brands he wants to associate his name with. “For Virat, endorsements are not the end game.
They are more often than not temporary and relevant just as long as we are. For us the retirement plan is businesses wherein we have vested interests that are commercially significant well beyond our careers,” says Bunty Sajdeh of Cornerstone Sport and Entertainment, which manages Kohli’s brand portfolio.
In the past few years, the cricketer has been approached by numerous categories such as undergarments, fans and even pan masalas, but he has refused to lend his name to them. He didn’t even renew his contract with Fair & Lovely Men.