Cricketer Surya Kumar Yadav, who has been amassing advertising deals like he’s been collecting runs on the T20 World Cup 2022 field, is likely to sign on at least half a dozen more brand endorsements over the next month across the categories of beverages, mobile accessories, media, sports and casual apparels, and education abroad even as his advertising fee has tripled over the past year.
The cricketer, popularly referred to as SKY and Mr.360 for hitting shots across the field, is the number one ICC T20I batsman in the world. Clubbed with his performance in the recent IPL, where he plays for the Mumbai Indians team, and the ongoing ICC T20 Cricket World Cup, he has become a “rising stock” in the world of advertising.
From four brands in July 2021, he now endorses 10 brands such as Royal Stag, Forma Helmets, FanCraze’s Faze NFT, Maxima Smartwatches, Dream11, Pintola peanut butter, Boult Audio, SS cricket equipment and UrbanGabru. His fee has also tripled from Rs 20 lakh a day pre-IPL, to ₹65-70 lakh now. While the endorsements are increasing for Yadav, the big-ticket FMCG, automobile and retail brands to put him in the league of MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli are missing from his portfolio. At 32, he is also seen as a late bloomer in the world of sport.
“It is easy to get carried away but we have a specific plan and narrative for him in place. As part of that journey, we are looking to announce 6-7 more brands in the coming months, which will include categories like beverages, mobile accessories, media, sports and casual apparels, and education abroad services and some of them are global brands,” says Nikhil Bardia, Head of Sponsorships Sales & Talent, RISE Worldwide – the talent agency that manages Yadav. Surya is creating his own niche and we are hopeful of closing the year with about 20 brands for him and a good mix of campaigns that have multi-players as well as only him, Bardia adds.
“Is he the next Kohli? Is he going to beat out the rest of the Indian cricket team [in terms of brand value]? The question is how savvily can his brand managers swoop in for the best deals for him. When brands came in for Kohli, the window was 10-12 years. For SKY, because he came in later, that window would be 5-6 years,” according to Harish Bijoor, Business & Brand-strategy specialist, and Founder, Harish Bijoor Consults.
Manish Porwal, MD, Alchemist Marketing & Talent Solutions, also estimates that Yadav’s endorsement rates are Rs 2-4 crore for “a couple of days of his time” and Rs 1-2 crore for shorter deals. He expects brands wanting to portray energy, youth, and flamboyance to knock at his doors. But, Porwal adds, the traditional advertisers like FMCG brands require more long-term stability in terms of appeal and T20 performance is not the best barometer of that. “His form may or may not continue. The vertical arrow you see now will stabilise over time. Plus, T20 is a format that allows newer stars to be born every now and then. So, the endurance is not there.”
But cricketers today are spoilt for choice when it comes to platform options, says Bijoor. “There are 10-15 platforms — TV, print, social, mobile, OTT, — can approach them, and every format has monetisation value. That’s an advantage for SKY.”
With multiple marquee, limited-over tournaments and IPL ahead, Bardia is confident of bagging more deals for Yadav. He adds that Yadav’s social media presence has gone up by over 300 per cent, adding about a million followers during the world cup and rising. “Now he’s in the top 10 active Indian cricketers when it comes to Instagram.”
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