After his scintillating performance in Australia, cricketer V V S Laxman has signed a deal estimated at around Rs 5 crore (Rs 50 million) with sports marketing company World Sport Nimbus.
This puts Laxman in the same league as top grossers like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and skipper Saurav Ganguly.
The first signs of the deal were visible on Laxman's bat which now sports a Britannia logo. "Laxman has a huge untapped marketing potential. He is elegance personified. We are proud to represent a champion player who is entering the most prolific batting phase of his international career," said Yannick Colaco, associate vice president, Nimbus Sport.
According to Colaco, Laxman will soon endorse six brands including Britannia, a soft drink, and a two-wheeler. Industry observers believe that Laxman has become more expensive than younger stars like Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh. Nimbus hopes to capture a 30 per cent share of the cricket endorsement market with Laxman as its flagship sign-up.
The dominant players in the market include WorldTel, which signed a Rs 100 crore (Rs 1,000 million) five-year deal with Tendulkar, and Percept D'mark, which manages Ganguly's account.
"Laxman has certainly emerged as the next best to Tendulkar in terms of saleability," said Delhi-based sports consultant Latika Khaneja, who was in the running to sign up the player.
Khaneja also manages the swashbuckling Virender Sehwag and a host of fringe players waiting to break into the Indian side. Sehwag already endorses 10 brands and Khaneja doesn't plan to add anymore in the near future.
"With Sehwag, we have achieved more than ten times our target. But when companies go in for contract renewals, the price will definitely go up," said Khaneja.
Sehwag, who has a simple revenue sharing arrangement with Khaneja's firm, is estimated to be grossing close to Rs 3 crore (Rs 30 million) a year.