Chopra’s endorsement fee has gone up to Rs 1.25-1.5 crore per annum while Mirabai Chanu and Lovlina Borgohain’s fee has seen a rise at Rs 1 crore and Rs 75 lakhs annually, respectively
With the Indian contingent marking its best medal haul in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics and Olympic Games, brands are making a beeline to support top performers. Be it sports apparel, insurance, banking, steel to edtech and sports nutrition, an array of brands have lined up to ink long term endorsement deals. Neeraj Chopra, the 23-year old javelin thrower, who bagged the only Gold for India in Tokyo Olympics, has been signed by Tata AIA Life Insurance, post his win. Moreover, Chopra’s endorsement fee has recorded a 10 times growth to Rs 1.25-1.5 crore per annum, as per industry experts. “With Neeraj, we saw 70-80 brands wanting to be associated post Olympics. We have closed four-five deals and are in advance conversation with more brands. In terms of the Olympics, we did not have a male athlete of this magnitude so the spends until now were mostly skewed towards actors and cricketers,” Mustafa Ghouse, CEO, JSW Sports Pvt Ltd, the company that manages Chopra, told BrandWagon Online.
Similarly, for wrestler Bajrang Punia, who won a Bronze medal, the endorsement fee has gone up by three times to Rs 60-80 lakhs per annum. For weightlifter Mirabai Chanu and boxer Lovlina Borgohain, the endorsement fee has registered a 10 times rise to Rs 1 crore and Rs 75 lakhs annually, respectively. “For Chanu, the association started with moment marketing for Domino’s, followed by Amway Nutrilite range, and Adidas. While Lovlina Borgohain and Manpreet Singh have been signed by Shyam Steel. There is a market now for Olympians. There has been a significant shift since Olympics 2008 and it is expected to go up further. Brands now want to engage with Olympics and we are already in talks for brand associations up to Paris Olympics 2024,” Neerav Tomar, CEO and managing director, IOS Sports and Entertainment, the company that manages Chanu, Borgohain, Singh, among others, stated.
What’s more, Paralympics Games medal winners such as Krishna Nagar, Manoj Sarkar, Nishad Kumar have also seen a huge spike in interest from brands. For Nagar, who bagged a gold medal in men’s singles badminton SH6, the endorsement deals are being negotiated in the range of Rs 35-40 lakhs annually. For Silver medallists, it is close to Rs 30 lakhs annually and Bronze medallists at Rs 25 lakhs. Earlier, we would struggle to get deals for the Paralympics athletes, Rahul Trehan, chief operating officer, IOS Sports and Entertainment, said. “As more awareness comes, the demand and ultimately the rates will go up. For Paralympics, the scenario will change with a huge win of 19 medals this year,” he added further.
For Trehan, the following on social media plays an important role in closing a deal. For instance, Nagar, who had close to 600-700 followers on Twitter and Instagram before Tokyo Paralympics 2020, saw a 10x rise in the number of followers instantly. Chanu’s Instagram followers too rose to 8,80,000 post Olympics from 90,000 followers earlier. Currently, Chopra has about close to 4.4 million on Instagram, up from 1,40,000 pre-Olympics while Borgohain’s followers have grown to 1,50,000 from about 20,000 earlier.
Even as the support from brands is a welcome move, experts believe that brands should not restrict themselves to such associations only during the Olympics season. What brands need to do is to nurture the ecosystem rather than jump on to the bandwagon amidst the increasing media mileage, Karthik Srinivasan, independent communications consultant, stated. “A game like Kabaddi was taken from the ground and nurtured into a league. An opportunity for brands is to create more avenues for these athletes to participate in, than just Olympics so there are more times where they can touch an audience. That’s an opportunity for larger brands to work closely with the Government to create more tournaments,” he said.