The four-year deal is reported to be worth ₹ 35 crore – ₹ 30 crore in cash and ₹ 5 crore worth of equipment over the next four years. The ₹ 8.75 crore per annum deal at the face value will only be second to India’s highest paid and biggest brand icon Virat Kohli, who reportedly charges between ₹ 8 crore and ₹ 10 crore per annum to endorse a brand. His bat sticker deal with MRF is reported at ₹ 110 crore for eight years – ₹ 13.75 crore per annum. MS Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar and PV Sindhu come next in that order.
The hard-to-believe Li-Ning-Srikanth deal is claimed to be the highest ever for a non-cricketer. This also leaves behind badminton world’s highest paid icon PV Sidhu, who in 2017 has been the leading female brand icon in India – ahead of cine world divas Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Pandukone As reported by Insidesport.co, Li-Ning is also negotiating with Sindhu to get her on board along with Srikanth. The duo were together as celebrity Indian badminton faces for Li-Ning in 2014-2015.
Sindhu and Srikanth had both returned to Yonex, the leading badminton gear brand in India and the official sponsor of the Badminton Association of India. The ace badminton duo in their last stint have been with Yonex from 2016 to 2018. There is still no confirmation on Sindhu’s commitment on returning to the Li-Ning camp.
The reported ₹35 crore is the maximum deal value Srikanth may earn over the next four years. However, the deal is riddled with numerous riders. The contract value will be corresponding to Srikanth’s BWF Singles rankings.
Insidesport.co has reliably learnt from a source privy to the deal that if the Guntur boy regains BWF’s World No. 1 rankings and continues to hold on to that his deal values will escalate considerably within the highest-agreed figure. The deal also includes a clause on the number of his international appearances and titles.
Even as the deal was officially announced on Sunday, InsideSport.co was the first to report on Saturday that Srikanth and Li-Ning have signed the contract.
Welcoming Srikanth on board, Li Ning India head Mahender Kapoor said “Srikanth is among the top Badminton players in the world and already the most accomplished Indian male badminton player and a World No. 1 player. Li Ning stands for quality and consistency and Srikanth fits the bill perfectly. We want to play our part in helping Srikanth achieve a lot more going forward.”
Kidambi Srikanth ecstatically commented, “I am honoured to be the face of Li Ning in India & globally. I love their products & I’m really looking forward to stepping on the court with a renewed vigor to accomplish few more goals that I have set for myself & keep bring laurels for my country.”