Cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been raking in the moolah in the ongoing season of the Indian Premier League, from the Association of Mutual Funds of India (AMFI), digital accounting platform Khatabook to online sports companies such as Dream11 and PokerStars.
According to the data released by TAM Sports, a division of TAM Media Research, Dhoni, who announced his retirement in August of this year, has emerged as the most preferred celebrity supporting 16 brands. As per industry estimates, this IPL from endorsement deals is expected to have earned the cricketer anywhere between Rs 120-150 crore. “As a performer, Dhoni was able to reposition himself. He appears as a distinct personality in each ad and represents the essence of the brand itself, inspiring trust,’ Ambi Parameswaran, founder of BrandBuilding.com, told BrandWagon Online.
Experts think that behind brands opting for Dhoni, there are several reasons. Typically, an advertiser takes into account factors such as the availability of athletes / actor, unwillingness to endorse certain types of goods, acquisition cost and brand activation window, until roping in a common face. The fact that Dhoni wasn’t playing for India before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic gave him more time to shoot for commercials.
His popularity among cricket fans adds to that. If we look specifically at the IPL, when compared to Virat, Dhoni has always been the larger brand, and that is why most of his endorsements during the IPL are active. Ajit Ravindran, co-founder and MD, Meraki Sport and Entertainment, reported that Dhoni transcends social, cultural and economic boundaries to the extent that he almost single-handedly fuels CSK’s fandom.
Further, it is believed that when compared to his colleague Virat Kohli, Dhoni is about 25-30% cheaper. “Depending on the advertiser, Dhoni charges brands anywhere between Rs 4-6 crore per day. Interestingly, despite announcing retirement, Dhoni has maintained his rates this IPL,” Bhairav Shanth, co-founder and MD, ITW Consulting Private Limited, explained. Dhoni is estimated to earn Rs 250 crore from long term endorsement contracts signed this year.
Even as naysayers call this a temporary phase, many believe that the Brand Dhoni will continue his streak among advertisers. “Brands would naturally want to take a punt on any property while it is still relevant and hot, but in Dhoni’s case, some of the deals do run for longer than just a season. He’s always been a top of the mind brand recognized in the remotest corners of the country even among casual cricket followers.
“The retirement announcement may have given a slight spike, but I think most brands have signed Dhoni because it would be Dhoni because of the cumulative top of mind recall he has been able to cultivate over the years if there was a great” off-season “brand ambassador,” Shanth added.