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Varuni Khosla

Brands flock to Suryakumar Yadav as cricketer’s value triples

The demand for Suryakumar Yadav has now surpassed that of peers such as K.L. Rahul and Rishabh Pant. PTI

The cricketer is in the process of signing about 10 new brands by the end of the year in the beverages, mobile accessories, media, sports apparel, casual apparel, education abroad services categories. Three of these are multinational corporations.

The demand for Yadav, who works with companies such as Royal Stag, Forma Helmets, FanCraze’s Faze NFT, Maxima Smartwatches, Dream11, Pintola peanut butter, and Boult Audio, has surpassed that of peers such as K.L. Rahul and Rishabh Pant. Yadav also endorses SS cricket equipment, owned by Sareen Sports Industries.

In the last month alone, Yadav has been signed on by brands including men’s grooming company UrbanGabru, owned by GlobalBees Brands Pvt Ltd, Boult Audio Private Limited, which imports and sells Chinese made electronics products such as earphones and smartwatches, and peanut butter brand Pintola owned by fast-moving consumer goods firm Das Foodtech Private Limited.

New players charge 25 lakh- 50 lakh per day, while more successful young cricketers would be able to command 50 lakh- 1 crore a day, industry experts said.

Nikhil Bardia, head of sponsorship sales and talent management at RISE Worldwide Limited, owned by Reliance Industries said it signed Yadav in July 2021. “When we signed him to our roster, there was a lot of chatter about him in the cricketing world about being the next big thing. We had a specific plan and narrative for him in place. We started with digital deals while focusing on his social media presence. Backed by his on-field performance, his social media presence has gone up by more than 300% and he’s now in the top 10 active Indian cricketers when it comes to Instagram," Bardia said.

At the time he joined the company, Yadav had four brands in his portfolio. Today he has 10 brands that have been announced, while about eight deals are expected to be announced this month. The talent management firm aims to close around 20 brands by the end of the year for the player.

“What works for him is that he is highly impactful and fearless with his presence on the pitch and very relatable and witty off it, which is what brands also tell us," Bardia said.

Yadav has been a consistent performer for the India team, said Aviral Jain, managing director, valuation advisory, at American corporate investigation and risk consulting firm Kroll, formerly Duff & Phelps. “He is quickly building his reputation as a match winner, which very few cricketers have done. His ability to play 360 degrees has attracted marketeers looking for a fresh, talented, and reliable face in the industry. He has the potential to grow his portfolio to more than 15 brands, joining people such as Pant, Jasprit Bumrah, and Hardik Pandya," Jain said.

Impact players such as M.S. Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Pandya typically charge upwards of 2 crore a day. Others, such as Rahul (who is said to charge 1 crore), Pant, Yadav, and Shreyas Iyer are performance dependent and charge between 50 lakh and 1 crore.

“We always knew he was a fantastic cricketer. His general persona and his presence on the ground with a smile on his face no matter what the outcome of the game makes him a complete cricketer. He was already performing well in his games even leading up to the World Cup. Its effects on our sales will be seen in the coming months," said AmitDesai, the founder of Protech Sports and Safety Products Pvt Ltd, which sells Forma helmets.

The company has used Yadav in several social media posts to endorse their products. “We had received good response from the domestic market based on his endorsements. We are certain we will get good response from some of our export markets with a lot of ethnic Indian players, especially in England, Australia as well," Desai said.

Hemant Raulo, founder, UrbanGabru, said, since the time he has been signed on as brand ambassador, the company has received more recognition. “We have seen an increase in trust as well as a better connection with the youth who are in awe of him."

Spending on sports celebrity endorsement grew 11% year-on-year in 2021, according to ‘Sporting Nation in The Making’, a report published by GroupM ESP, the entertainment, esports and sports division of media company GroupM.

A total of 444 brand endorsement deals have been closed in 2021, with cricketers accounting for 318 endorsement deals and 87% of total brand endorsement value. The Olympic year of 2021 increased emerging sports athletes‘ endorsements by 79%, accounting for 13% of the overall brand endorsement value.


Varuni Khosla

Varuni Khosla is a journalist with close to 14 years of experience in writing business news stories for mainstream newspaper companies like Mint and The Economic Times. She reports and writes on luxury and lifestyle brands, hospitality and tourism news, the business of sports, the business of advertising and marketing and alcohol brands.
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