Virat Kohli Reigns Supreme in Indian Brand Endorsements

Indian sports and its players have always had a special place in the hearts of Indian fans. From cricket to hockey, athletics to kabaddi, India has produced many sports legends over the years. However, when it comes to celebrity endorsements, Indian cricket players take the cake. As per the GroupM ESP Sporting Nation Report 2023, the overall spending on sports celebrity endorsements has increased by 20% to ₹749 crore in 2022, with 85% of the total endorsement value going to cricketers.

Virat Kohli, the captain of the Indian cricket team, leads the pack with 30 brand endorsements to his name. He endorses brands across different sectors, including ethnic wear, wearables, and e-commerce. The former captain of the Indian cricket team, MS Dhoni, and Rohit Sharma, the current vice-captain, also have 30 brands each to their name.

Apart from these three cricketers, other members of the Indian cricket team, such as Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, KL Rahul, and Shikhar Dhawan, are also among the top earners in the endorsement space. With the emergence of new cricket stars like Surya Kumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, and Shreyas Iyer, brands are expected to sign more deals with these players in the near future.

However, it’s not just cricket players who are cashing in on their fame. As the popularity of other sports like kabaddi, kho kho, and hockey grows, athletes from these sports are also attracting brand endorsements. Olympic gold medalist in javelin throw, Neeraj Chopra, is on top of the list of athletes from other emerging sports who have a mass following and many brands in their portfolio. Badminton player PV Sindhu also has 11 brands to her name.

The report states that the share of cricket in sports celebrity endorsement has come down to 85% in 2022 from 87% last year, indicating that other emerging sports professionals are gradually picking pace in brand endorsements. With the rollout of Women’s Premier League from 2023, women cricketers like Harmanpreet Kaur, Mithali Raj, and Smriti Mandhana are also expected to attract more brand endorsements.

In conclusion, the GroupM ESP Sporting Nation Report 2023 highlights the dominance of Indian cricketers in the endorsement space. However, with the emergence of new sports and athletes, the share of cricket in brand endorsements is slowly decreasing, giving other sports and their players an opportunity to cash in on their fame. As the Indian sports industry continues to grow, it will be interesting to see which athletes and sports will gain prominence in the endorsement space.

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