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Sports stars asking for crores for endorsement

Last updated on: May 3, 2011 11:07 IST

Sports stars asking for crores for endorsement

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Surajeet Das Gupta & Varada Bhat in New Delhi/Mumbai

The hope of a rich medal haul in the London Olympics next year and victory in the world cup cricket have led to a huge increase in the endorsement fee charged by winners in last year's Commonwealth Games and cricketers.

While most Commonwealth Games winners are asking for 20-35 per cent more, the young stars of India's world cup win have doubled their rates.

Devraj Sanyal, chief executive officer of Percept Sports & Entertainment, which has many of these players as clients, says, "With the Olympics next year, there is euphoria in the endorsement market in identifying potential medal winners.

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Image: Dhoni hugs Yuvraj after hitting the winning runs in the World Cup final.

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"As a result, many Commonwealth medal winners have seen a spurt in rates. The response has been very good. Most of these deals will be finalised by September-October."

Sanyal says for the next six-eight months, sportsmen will dominate film stars in the endorsement market.

With India winning 101 medals in the Commonwealth Games and 61 in the Asian Games in China, there is a lot of interest among companies in roping in the winners.

For instance, boxer Vijendra Kumar is charging Rs 1 crore (Rs 10 million) in the run-up to the London Olympics. He was getting Rs 70-80 lakh (Rs 7-8 million) just after the Commonwealth Games.

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Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni in a commercial.

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Badminton player Saina Nehwal's fee has risen from Rs 50-60 lakh (Rs 5-6 million) to Rs 80 lakh (Rs 8 million).

Shooting stars Gaurav Narang and Abhinav Bindra are charging Rs 80 lakh (Rs 8 million) for a year. Bindra was earlier available for Rs 60 lakh (Rs 6 million).

Sushil Kumar, who used to charge Rs 20 lakh (Rs 2 million), has doubled his fee.

He is already endorsing three brands, Body Fuelz (a sports nutrition brand), Sahara and Eicher Tractors. Recently, Vijender and he were signed up by Pepsi and the National Egg Coordination Committee, respectively.

Among the latest deals signed by Saina Nehwal are Herbalife, a direct selling company for nutrition and energy products and fitness supplements, and Fortune Plus edible oil, an Adani Wilmar group brand.

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Image: Yuvraj Singh doing Reebok ad.

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In cricket, the main beneficiaries have been the younger players.

"A lot of companies now want to get associated with cricket players.

"The victory has not only benefited the most popular players but also the younger cricketers, who earlier did not get enough attention," said Melroy D'Souza, PMG chief operation officer, Madison World's Sports Management Company.

Yuvraj Singh has doubled his fee from Rs 1.5-2 crore (Rs 15-20 million) to Rs 3-4 crore (Rs 30-40 million).

Viraat Kohli is looking at Rs 2 crore (Rs 20 million), almost double of what he used to charge before the world cup.

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Image: Viraat Kohli in a commercial.

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Suresh Raina, who played a crucial role in India's win over Pakistan, has increased his fee from Rs 55 lakh (Rs 5.5 million) to over Rs 1 crore (Rs 10 million).

And Gautam Ghambhir, industry sources say, is charging Rs 3 crore (Rs 30 million) per endorsement.

Endorsement companies say the big boys of cricket are also looking for the moolah -- Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar are demanding 20-30 per cent more.

Dhoni is asking for Rs 8-10 crore (Rs 80-100 million), while Tendulkar is available for Rs 3-5 crore (Rs 30-50 million).

Dhoni's agency now wants to sell him as a premium brand with a higher price tag.

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Image: Tendulkar and members of the Indian team celebrate with the trophy.

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"We want to take the brand endorsement market to the next level. We are considering different partnership models with companies, moving beyond simple fee-based tie-ups.

"The idea is to change his positioning and steer him away from being seen as a mass-market brand," said Arun Pandey president, Rhiti Sports, which handles his brand engagements.

The euphoria has also impacted movie stars, whose share of the endorsement pie is expected to shrink this year.

According to TAM Media Research, 2010 saw Bollywood celebrities cornering a 85.3 per cent of the endorsement pie.

Sportspersons settled for a more humble 12.3 per cent and that too was dominated by cricketers.

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Image: Sachin Tendulkar in a commercial.

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"The new-found popularity of sports icons will change the equation. We estimate that the contribution of sports will rise to 30 per cent this year while Bollywood's share will come down," said Bunty Sajdeh, chief executive officer, Cornerstone Sports and Entertainment.

Top stars say Shah Rukh Khan's fee has fallen to Rs 1.5 crore (Rs 15 million) from Rs 2.5-3 crore (Rs 25-30 million).

Hritik Roshan is charging Rs 1.2-1.5 crore (Rs 12-15 million), down from the earlier price tag of 1.75 crore (Rs 17.5 million).

Abhishek Bachchan's fee has slipped by one-fourth. Imran Khan and Ranbir Kapoor charge Rs 1.5-2 crore (Rs 15-20 million).

Surely, Bollywood is giving way a bit to the new non-cricket sports icons.



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