Virat Kohli has increased his endorsement fee to Rs 5 crore a day for new contracts, the highest charged by any celebrity in the country, possibly putting the 28-year-old in the league of international sports stars, says a Economic Times report.
The Indian captain’s fee earlier ranged between Rs 2.5 crore and Rs 4 crore a day. The increase comes as the renewal of his endorsement deal with cola maker PepsiCo is being negotiated. Kohli is undecided about renewing the Pepsi contract, given the health concerns associated with colas, according to two people aware of his plans. PV Sindhu, India’s best female brand in sports business, too doesn’t accept cola endorsements.
Two officials representing different brands endorsed by Kohli confirmed the fee hike, asking not to be identified because of confidentiality clauses. This, they said, surpasses not only what former captain MS Dhoni charged at his peak, but also that of Bollywood stars such as Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Ranveer Singh and Ranbir Kapoor.
Cornerstone Sport, the agency representing Kohli, declined to comment on the cricketer’s fee while indicating optimism about the Pepsi contract. “Virat is contracted with Pepsi until April 30. We are currently negotiating a contract extension with the Pepsi-Co team,” Cornerstone Sport CEO Bunty Sajdeh said in an email. “Pepsi has been one of our longest and most fruitful associations until now and hopefully we will collaborate with them for years to come.”
A PepsiCo spokesperson said in response to ET’s query: “Virat’s contract with PepsiCo is up for renewal and we are in active discussions to renew the same. We look forward to continuing our long and meaningful association with him,” the spokesperson said.
On average, companies sign contracts with celebrities for two to four days in a year. On these contracted days, the celebrity could be asked to shoot for commercials, appear at events, engage with fans, meet the media or interact with employees. A Rs 5 crore-a-day deal translates into Rs 20 crore a year for four days.
PepsiCo ended its 11-year association with Dhoni, the then one-day and T20 cricket team captain, last summer. The company could pull all stops to retain its contract with the swashbuckling India captain, marketers and brand experts said. “Cola is a troubled category for now and in this case, the company will certainly be keen on extending the contract,” brand consultant Harish Bijoor said. “Apart from form, Virat represents panache and style, which is what a cola brand looks for.”
Colas have been at the receiving end of health activists and urban consumers are shifting to low sugar beverages. “Today, a celebrity cannot just endorse a product for the sake of it,” said Prathish Nair, head of brand consulting firm Trancend.
Last month, Kohli became the first Indian sportsperson to sign an eight-year, Rs 110-crore endorsement deal with German sportswear Puma. Kohli also endorses Audi cars, MRF tyres, Tissot watches, Gionee phones, Boost milk drink, Colgate toothpaste and Vicks lozenges, among others.
Kohli endorses 18 brands and has invested in a chain of gyms under the name Chisel, a tech startup called Sports Convo, a fashion label by the name of Wrogn and has a partnership with Nazara Technologies for online cricket games.
An October 2016 report on the country’s most valued celebrity brands by global valuation and corporate advisory firm Duff & Phelps estimated Kohli’s brand value at Rs 596.5 crore ($92 million). Now the valuation is up at least 30% with his current form and captaincy, a sports management associate said.
“While within the cricket fraternity, Kohli’s endorsements have surpassed all peers, cricket as a sport has not broken boundaries in places like Europe, where valuations of sports stars have skyrocketed,” said Nair of Trancend.