After becoming the Indian cricket team captain, endorser of 17 brands and a savvy investor/entrepreneur, the valuation of brand Virat Kohli is expected to get a further boost with his recent double century knocks. The 28-year-old cricketer is clearly the man of the moment. From being hailed as the best batsman not only by his own teammates but also his rivals, to being a youth icon and philanthropist, Kohli has immense responsibilities on his shoulders. A solid game-winning streak, a dollop of style and a dash of aggression, and you have the perfect recipe in Kohli that has brands queuing up his front door with endorsement contracts.
After captaining the famous victory in the 2008 U-19 World Cup, Kohli has seen an upward trend not only in his cricketing career but brand value too. It was in 2014 when Kohli set the endorsement world abuzz with the R10 crore per annum deal with German sports goods giant Adidas.
Kohli is not only a passionate player on the field but is proving to be a suave businessman off it too. He is the endorser of as many as 17 brands and with his demeanour and panache has emerged to be one of the most sought-after youth icons in the country at the moment. The once in-your-face aggressive young brat, Kohli has eased down and is now well in control of his emotions which has made him a bigger brand. The brash young man has become a responsible leader of the team and this transformation has many takers at the moment.
In 2014, SportsPro rated him as the second most marketable athlete in the world behind only Lewis Hamilton, placing him above the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Usain Bolt.
It all began with Titan’s Fastrack in 2010. “The first campaign Virat ever did was for Fastrack with (actor) Genelia D’Souza, who back then was the celebrity in the ad film. We needed a platform to showcase Virat and this was a superb fit at the time,” recalls Bunty Sajdeh of Cornerstone Sport and Entertainment which manages Kohli’s brand portfolio.
The deal made then was that of a mere R25 lakh. Today, Kohli charges a whopping R4 crore per day. Stating Kohli’s brand valuation at R10 crore per year per deal currently, Atul Srivastava, managing partner, Games Unlimited believes that unlike Sachin Tendulkar or MS Dhoni, the career graph of Kohli is moving upwards at a tremendous speed. “He is a complete package wherein boys want to be like him and girls love him too. Brands would love to have him as an ambassador as he moves beyond the cricket arena,” he says. And now, with Kohli signing a eight-year deal with Puma for Rs 110 crore, he has become the first Indian sportsperson to sign a Rs 100-crore endorsement deal with a single brand.
Kohli is racing ahead and there is hardly any competition as he has emerged a role model for young boys who are increasingly looking to emulate his lifestyle. Also, the young man is well aware that the shelf life of a cricketer is way shorter than the movie stars and thus he wants to make the most out of all the brand endorsements, but at the same time he wants to be selective in the types of brands he endorses as he is well aware of the repercussions his moves would have on the common folk in the country now.
Kohli is the face of modern India where he is well aware that all of his movements would be under the scanner and he knows that any controversy is sure to grab eyeballs. However, he is unique in many ways as he has emerged as one of the modern day legends and with his demeanour, he could well go on to break all records. For the brand value to be in place, the performances need to be consistent and considering the hunger and immense promise of Kohli, the coming few years could well be historic in many sense.