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Neeraj Chopra is advertising world’s new blue-eyed boy

Javelin star Neeraj Chopra is making record endorsement deals, a domain which has been dominated by cricketers. And it looks like ‘brand Chopra’ is here to stay

August 03, 2022 / 06:07 AM IST
Neeraj Chopra had won gold during the Tokyo Olympics 2021.

Neeraj Chopra had won gold during the Tokyo Olympics 2021.

Sports stardom is quite a beast to manage, and offers very little margin for laxity. The shelf life of a sportsperson on top of their game, both on the playing field as well as in the brand arena, is pretty less. Unless you, veritably, classify yourself as a legend, while also avoiding controversies and pitfalls. Or, you are in a sport that transcends the marketability quotient with its sheer popularity. Cricket is that sport in India. Virat Kohli is that legend. Enter Neeraj Chopra!

The year was 2017. Chopra, a junior world champion by then, had earned a reputation as a talent with potential for greatness. During an interaction at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Patiala, Chopra answered our questions before pointing at his friend sitting nearby, saying, “Please interview him as well. He is really good”. That friend, Rohit Yadav, also featured in the World Championships javelin final in Oregon last weekend. Yadav is good, but is quite a way off Chopra’s marks of excellence. Chopra has now added a world silver to go with his Olympic gold, further attesting his credential as one of the best javelin throwers of this generation.

Chopra has hit a purple patch, both in terms of performance and endorsement deals. His brand worth has, reportedly, risen almost 10 times in the past one year. Before his Olympic gold, Chopra’s deals would fetch him a yearly contract of Rs 25-35 lakh per brand. Post the gold, he attracts Rs 2.5 to 4 crore, taking his brand closer to Kohli, who earns upwards of Rs 5 to 8 crore per brand on an average.

Chopra, who was a Nike athlete till the Tokyo Olympics, signed with Under Armour recently an unprecedented multi-year deal, reportedly with the possibility of launching his own line of products.