Mahendra Singh Dhoni understands the market as much as he champions the cause of creating, retaining and enhancing his own value as a brand. For Indian Premier League, he is among the most sought after names. In most demand. Among the icons whose brand value is immune to current showing. The star who is ‘trending for trading’.
Supergiant is up against league leaders Kolkata’s Knights on Wednesday evening. It’s Shah Rukh Khan vs MS Dhoni, too. For brand quotient. For the ‘buyer vs the brand’. ‘Buyer’ SRK has revealed his interest in ‘brand’ Dhoni. Now, Dhoni will be out to enhance his value. For, Dhoni’s association with a team is not just about runs on the board, stumps and catches behind the wickets. It is about brand association. The potential to inflate franchisee’s balance sheet with his sheer presence in team colours.
MSD has been endorsing up to 20-22 brands. Typical three-five years deals. But it is rare that a brand will like to disassociate with Dhoni after having engaged with him. That’s the sense of belonging Dhoni brings on board. That’s the permanent class, which can mask a champions current lack of form. That’s what keeps Dhoni in his demand always.
Irrespective of form brand Dhoni is in demand. The franchisee owner whose team will be up against Dhoni’s RPS at Pune on Saturday is keen on having Dhoni on his side. “Shah Rukh Khan’s remark to sell his pyjama for getting Dhoni on the KKR side was no joke,” says a KKR team official on condition of anonymity. “It will be an open field for all franchisees during the auction next year. We have serious plans around Dhoni. He brings more value than his performance in the middle,” adds the man.
All the players in the Indian Premier League will be up for grabs ahead of season 11 next year. KKR is not the only franchisee interested to acquire Dhoni. Chennai Super Kings, who have won two IPL crowns under him, are more keen to regain their Team Leader, among the best in the business.
The Chennai team owner and former BCCI President, N Srinivasan has no qualms in confessing that retaining Dhoni will be the top priority for the yellow brigade. “If you are a CSK fan you want to see Dhoni leading the Chennai IPL team in 2018. There is every possibility of that happening next year,” Srinivasan had said.
For Shahrukh the ‘buyer’ with an interest in ‘brand’ Dhoni is a personal rival as well. In the brand market three two rivals from cricket and cinema are fierce competitors, too. Before Virat Kohli set new records, Dhoni’s net brand value of Rs 181 crore was only challenged by SRK, who had 21 endorsement deals to his name compared to Dhoni’s 20 by the second quarter of 2016.
At Kolkata’s Eden Garden, Dhoni will be out to prove his worth in dollars against the man who wants him on his side.