Kohli earns Rs 20 million more than Dhoni for endorsing same brand in ads


India’s ODI and T20 cricket captain M S Dhoni continues to be one of the highest paid brand endorsers in the country. But when it comes to peddling the willow, red hot Virat Kohli commands a higher price.

While Dhoni gets around Rs 6 crore to put a Spartan sticker on his bat, Test captain Kohli, who uses an MRF bat, gets around Rs 8 crore for the same, said people familiar with the matter. The Delhi batter also gets paid around Rs 2 crore for endorsing apparel and shoes on the pitch.

When it comes to off-field brand endorsements such as TV ads, Dhoni surges ahead with Rs 8 crore, while Kohli pockets around Rs 5 crore. “Dhoni, Yuvraj and Kohli are the players who can get merchandise to move off the shelves,” said the CEO of a large sportswear firm.

The cricket calendar is punishing this season. With the World T20 in progress and the IPL to follow, there is a mad scramble among brands to sign up new players for kit endorsements hoping that the visibility will have a positive impact on their sales. Apart from usual players such as Puma and Nike, new entrants such as US footwear brand New Balance and European sportswear firm Head, known for their tennis racquets, are also targeting T20 cricket leagues. We have launched around 250 retail points in the country for our cricket equipment,” said Rajesh Nagpal, MD, Head Cricket India. “Although we haven’t signed any Indian players yet, India is a huge market and we expect the buzz around T20 to provide traction to our cricket gear which is a new category for us.”

Read more: India’s Kohli gifts his bat to Pakistan’s Amir to show his support

Closer home, German sportswear maker Puma has struck a deal for around Rs 4 crore with southpaw Yuvraj Singh for his bat, footwear and apparel. The company, however, refused to comment on the story.

Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma, who sport Ceat stickers on their bats, earn Rs 2.5-3 crore and Rs 3 crore while Ajinkya Rahane takes in around Rs 1.5 crore for his bat footwear and apparel together. On the other hand, Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan, whose bat is sponsored by MRF, pockets around Rs 3 crore.

“Indian players are paid much more than their foreign counterparts because cricket is the most followed sport in the country,” said a senior executive with a large sports marketing firm. “However, international stars such as AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle who have a large fan following here, demand big money too.”

The price of a sticker on South African cricket star de Villier’s bat is estimated to be at around Rs 3.5 crore. He may soon start playing with an MRF bat, said sources. West Indian opener, Chris Gayle gets around Rs 3 crore from his deal with Spartan, whose bat he endorses. Both MRF and Ceat spokespersons were unavailable for comment for this story.

Also read: Kohli popular in team, but Dhoni my favourite: Sana Mir


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