Virat Kohli has signed a whooping Rs 110 crore deal with Puma, becoming the first Indian athlete to have struck a deal like this with a single brand. Kohli’s shares have been rising both on and off pitch, and before this news came up, he already was the highest paid cricketer of IPL 2017. Since he took on the full time captaincy, the 28-year-old has become the hottest property in International Cricket and big names were expected to pursue him to sign as their brand ambassador.
Kohli had previously been associated with sports goods giants, Adidas, for a three-year deal worth Rs 10 crore, which was already a big sum. However, the agreement ended in December, 2016 and was not renewed after a mutual decision. While Virat Kohli is undoubtedly one of the most feared batsman in International cricket due to his incredible form and unmatched talent, he has now joined the likes of Usain Bolt and Thierry Henry by becoming a global brand ambassador for Puma.
Other than being one of the biggest designers and manufacturers of athletic and casual footwear, apparel and accessories, Puma is also famous for leaving no stone unturned when it comes to brand promotion. Their association with Virat Kohli is proof enough of the Indian skipper’s global market value and the agreement spans over a period of eight years, including fixed payments of Rs 12 crore per annum plus earning from royalties.
— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) February 19, 2017
Kohli will work with the sports lifestyle brand in launching a new signature line of lifestyle products which will be for sale with a special logo and brand identity, just like Lionel Messi has for Adidas and Michael Jordan for Nike.
Usain Bolt, who is also Puma’s global ambassador, congratulated his new teammate, acknowledging Virat’s greatness and beginning of a new era.
— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) February 20, 2017
This is not the first time that global brands have seeked support of Indian cricketers. Sachin Tendulkar was the one, who showed that Indian athletes have all the marketing muscle needed in the industry. Back in 1995, Tendulkar signed a Rs 30 crore a deal with WorldTel and became the most marketable property of the nation. Fast forward to MS Dhoni’s era, the former skipper was earning Rs 180 crore at his prime, not far behind the Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan. He even featured in the Forbes highest earning athletes list at No. 23rd in 2015 after earning USD 31 million, out of which, USD 27 million were from endorsements.
Virat Kohli is now the most marketed cricketer in world and his Rs 110 crore deal didn’t come as a surprise. Since being promoted as Indian skipper in all the formats, his reach among the youth has also rocketed to new heights, unparalleled dominance on the pitch being one of the biggest reasons.
Interestingly, the Kohli-era has just begun and the list of feathers that the player now has on his cap, is definitely one of the longest ever seen in India. There is definitely more to come, and we just have to wait and cherish the inevitable future of Indian Cricket.