Cricket Reigns Supreme in Brand Endorsement :The Indian sports industry is witnessing unprecedented growth in revenues with spends crossing over Rs 14,000 crore, and sports celebrity endorsements have also seen a significant rise. According to the GroupM ESP Sporting Nation Report 2023, overall spending on sports celebrity endorsements has increased by 20% to ₹749 crore in 2022, with cricketers bagging 85% of the total endorsement value. Out of 505 brand endorsement deals, 381 deals were with cricketers.
Let’s take a closer look at the current state of sports celebrity endorsements in India and which athletes are leading the pack: Cricket Reigns Supreme in Brand Endorsement
Cricketers Dominate Endorsement Space
The report states that Indian cricketers enjoy the leverage that comes from the popularity of cricket in the country, which is more of a religion. Indian cricketers are among the highest earners in the endorsement space, with the average deal value involving cricketers being 1.8 times that of athletes from emerging sports.
The top athletes in sports celebrity brand endorsement include Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma, Sachin Tendulkar, Neeraj Chopra, and PV Sindhu. Virat Kohli continues to be the topper of brand endorsements with 30 brands to his name. Kohli has been the brand ambassador for ethnic wear brand Manyavar, wearables brand Noise, and e-commerce platform Myntra, among others.
MS Dhoni, the former captain of the Indian cricket team, is another athlete who makes a significant amount from brand advertisements, followed by Rohit Sharma. All three Indian cricketers have 30 brands each. Other Team India stars like Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, KL Rahul, and Shikhar Dhawan are also among the big scorers in the endorsement space.
Newcomers in the Endorsement Space
Cricketers like Surya Kumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, and Shreyas Iyer are new entrants in the world of brand endorsements. According to the report, these players are expected to score at a brisk rate in the near future. As the Indian women’s team has progressed by leaps and bounds in the last few years, women cricketers like Harmanpreet Kaur, Mithali Raj, and Smriti Mandhana are also attracting brand endorsements.
Other Emerging Sports in the Mix
While cricket still dominates the endorsement space, other emerging sports are gradually picking up the pace in brand endorsement. With the emerging popularity of sports like Kho Kho, Kabaddi, Hockey, and others, the share of cricket in sports celebrity endorsement has come down to 85% in 2022 from 87% last year. Athletes from these sports are also finding takers from brands. Olympic champion in javelin throw Neeraj Chopra is on the top of the list of athletes from other emerging sports to have a mass following, and brands in his kitty.
Cricket Reigns Supreme in Brand Endorsement
Indian sports celebrity endorsements have seen significant growth in recent years, with cricket dominating the space. However, other emerging sports are gradually picking up pace, and athletes from these sports are also attracting brand endorsements. Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, and Rohit Sharma continue to lead the pack with 30 brands each, while newcomers like Surya Kumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, and Shreyas Iyer are expected to score big in the near future.