Kolkata: We have heard of Rs 100-crore films in Bollywood and Rs 100-crore stars. Now in the game of cricket, there is a Rs 100-crore sportsperson called Virat Kohli who has reinforced his growing stature in the sports landscape in India by bagging a whopping Rs 100 crore plus deal with Puma. The Indian skipper has reportedly signed an eight-year deal with Puma and has become a global brand ambassador for the brand. Kohli joins an elite list of world class athletes like Usain Bolt, Thierry Henry, Asafa Powell, Sergio Aguero, Cesc Fabregas and Diego Maradona who are global ambassadors for the Germany-based brand.
Eight-time Olympic gold medalist, Bolt is believed to be the leading star of the company. The Jamaican has a fan following that spans the entire face of the earth. The fastest man on Earth is now joined by Kolhi in what can be described as quite an exclusive club. Kohli, according to the deal will be bagging around Rs 12 crore, a year along with various add- ons, which when converted to US Dollars (USD) is approximately $1.8 million. Meanwhile Bolt recently signed a deal which will see him earn a total of $10 million per year and once he retires, will be paid $4 million per year to act as a lifetime Puma ambassador.
Currently, Kohli endorses more than 20 brands, the latest additions to his portfolio being smartphone maker Gionee and luggage maker American Tourister, and global powerhouse Puma. He was appointed goodwill ambassador for the Indian government’s Skill India mission in January. According to a report published by Duff & Phelps in October 2016, Kohli, has pipped India’s World Cup winning skipper MS Dhoni, to having an estimated brand value of $92.8 million second only to Bollywood superstar, Shah Rukh Khan.
Sachin Tendulkar and Dhoni have been in the Rs 100 crore club through multi-year contracts with sports and talent management agencies, which in turn saw them sign for a number of brands. The rapid rise in Kohli’s brand value can be accredited to both his on-field performances and off-field charisma. Being just 28, Kohli arguably still has his best years ahead of him.
Puma as a brand is a direct rival to the fellow German brand, Adidas and looked to capitalise on the situation. Signing the Indian captain is a major coup for the brand which needed a new face to revitalise its position in not only the Indian market but even abroad. India is seen as a major emerging marketing by most brands and targeting the youth is almost essential to making a brand successful in the country. His straightforward, fearless and confident demeanor sees him as the perfect fit for any brand.
“Virat has transformed the way fitness is looked at in Indian cricket. He has emphasized the role of an athlete and reshaping cricket in the millennial culture, thus endorsing our brand ethos. He is a youth icon with an effortless style,” Puma India MD, Abhishek Ganguly said. Puma is expected to work with Kohli in markets like UK, Australia, South Africa and the Middle East and “wherever Cricket is relevant.” he added.
(With inputs from The Times of India and Hindustan Times)