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Tokyo Olympics | Will Ravi Dahiya's silver medal bring back advertiser interest in wrestling?

Brand experts think that Dahiya will see advertisers take note of him like they did after star wrestler Sushil Kumar had brought home a silver at the London Olympics in 2012.

August 06, 2021 / 05:20 PM IST
Ravi Kumar Dahiya (Image: ANI)

Ravi Kumar Dahiya (Image: ANI)

Wrestler Ravi Dahiya was like a storm in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics where he became the second Indian to qualify for a gold medal bout at the games.

And now he has become the poster boy of wrestling in India after winning a silver medal in Tokyo Olympics.

This is why brand experts think that Dahiya will see advertisers take note of him like they did after star wrestler Sushil Kumar had brought home a silver at the London Olympics in 2012.

"There is no doubt that brands will take note of wrestler Ravi Dahiya. His win will gather a number of brand endorsement offers and other advertising deals. Brands who want to project persistent efforts, strength and a champion mindset, would have him as a brand ambassador," said Sahil Chopra, Founder & CEO- iCubesWire.

Brand expert Harish Bijoor also said that Ravi Dahiya has done a positive not only to wrestling but to himself as well with this medal win.

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What makes Chopra and Bijoor confident about Dahiya is the fact that many brands had made a beeline to associate with star wrestler Sushil Kumar after his historic Olympic wins.

Kumar who has in his kitty two medals at the Olympics - a silver in 2012 and a bronze in 2008, bagged many endorsement deals. This included Mountain Dew from PepsiCo, Eicher Motors, Ralson Tyres and Emami.

In fact, sports marketers after his 2012 win had said that his endorsement fees would get doubled. At that time he was charging around Rs 50 lakh for a campaign.

Along with Kumar, India witnessed the rise of many star wrestlers including Yogeshwar Dutt, Sakshi Malik and this caught the attention of the viewers.

The Pro Wrestling League (PWL) which started in 2015, saw many star athletes wrestle on the mat which resulted in strong viewership for the league.

According to data by Zapr, media consumption repository and advertising platform, when players like Sakshi Malik and Geeta Phogat wrestled at PWL, the league recorded high viewership.

While Malik attracted 6.2 million viewers for her first match at PWL, Phogat registered five million unique TV viewers for her match in the league.

Along with PWL, overall wrestling as a sport has seen strong viewership growth.

In fact, in 2018 cricket lost its pole position and wrestling became the most-watched sport on television in India.

A FICCI report noted that wrestling garnered a 20 percent share of total sports viewership, followed by cricket at 19 percent in 2018.

This is why Arvind Sivdas, CEO, Kabaddi Adda said that Ravi Dahiya's win will continue the momentum that wrestling has been getting in the recent few years.

"This will not only impact the ability of wrestlers to generate consistent endorsement deals but also improve the akhada culture in the country and have a trickle effect on other akhada sports also, like kabaddi," he added.

While Chopra said that there has been a tremendous change in the viewership tilting towards wrestling due to India’s excellent performance in the sport, Bijoor noted that wrestling remains a sport-in-limbo for now in India.

"It comes into limelight during and a few months after the Olympics, and then gets eclipsed by the 'mother of them all sports', cricket," said Bijoor.
Maryam Farooqui
first published: Aug 6, 2021 04:42 pm

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