By Maryam Farooqui
Team India has reached the semi-finals of the ongoing T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia after winning the match against Zimbabwe in which Surya Kumar Yadav stole the show with six fours and four sixes. He also became the first Indian and the second player, globally, to score over 1,000 runs in a year.
Marketers note that the strong performance of Surya Kumar Yadav, a.k.a. SKY, will boost his brand value.
One brand expert expects Yadav's endorsement fees to go up and said that he is at par with cricketers like KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya. It is estimated Pandya charges around Rs 1.5-2 crore per day for an endorsement whereas Yadav’s fee is around Rs 1 crore.
This year, the cricketer was signed by three brands, men’s grooming company UrbanGabru, FMCG firm Pintola and consumer electronics manufacturer Boult Audio, among others.
No major brands now
“Brands want consistency, which he has shown in the last one year. While his endorsement portfolio currently has no major brands, in the next one year, we will see some big brands signing SKY," said Vijayaraghavan Venugopal, Founder and CEO, Fast&Up, a sports nutrition brand.
Fast&Up was the nutrition sponsor of Chennai Super Kings in 2020 and has roped in sports personalities as brand ambassadors.
“The performance of a player impacts brand value. Surya has been a very consistent player, especially in the past two-three years. He held the fort for Mumbai Indians during the IPL season and has found his form back, post his injury break as well. He has caught the eye of the public and that itself will boost the value of the brand that is associated with him," said Neerav Tomar, MD and CEO, IOS Sports, a sports marketing firm.
While Yadav has been gaining popularity even before the T20 tournament, the cricketer has become more popular after his last two games, especially against Zimbabwe, said Lloyd Mathias, a business strategist and an independent director.
“He will see a spike in endorsement, and post the T20 World Cup, there will be a clutch of brand deals. His brand endorsement value should double after this tournament," he added.
Mathias thinks that the cricketer will see a mainstream consumer brand signing a deal with him. “He has four-five years ahead of him to play. One or two major brands will show healthy interest. Plus, his popular name SKY has gained a lot of traction on social media.”
SKY has a following of 6.4 million across Instagram and Twitter.
Will brand value be a distraction?
His name SKY is ruling the hearts of cricket fans and he has the potential to be a star on the field, which will gain him more brand deals, said sports marketer Rahul Trehan. “He has grabbed the interest of various brands and has been faring decently in the endorsement space. He was made the face of some brands a few days back. I believe that his portfolio is soon going to see some big names backing him up,” he added.
While SKY is reaping rewards for his perseverance and hard work, which will lead to a lot of ad deals in the coming months, it will also be a big distraction for him as a sportsman, said Ajimon Francis, managing director of Brand Finance India, a brand valuation and strategy consultancy firm.
“We have seen it with Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, and Shreyas Iyer. SKY will have to remain all the more tough in the months to come while balancing media interest and his own training regime," he said.
Brands that are in the growth phase look for one-two year deals with cricketers and for that they see consistency and performance across all formats, including Test and One-day matches, said Venugopal.
“SKY will have to transform himself as an all-format player as he has currently proved himself in T20 only. But a lot of analysts are saying that he has the potential to be in other formats as well. Once he migrates to more formats, there will be more interest in brands. He is a natural choice for the 2023 one-day World Cup and there will also be IPL coming next year. So there will be a lot of opportunities for him," he said.
Venugopal said that SKY, as a cricketer, has blossomed late as ideally brands want players who are in their mid-20s, so that once they start performing they have more years. “With SKY at 32, he has another three years. So, he is a great bet but it will not be a blind call," he said.
Mathias said that Yadav, in the endorsement world, has been low-profile so far. "Considering the scale of the T20 World Cup, it will bring him into the A-league cricket stars. Until now, he was not in the super league but his current performance brings him close to the popularity of players like Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul. He has been low profile, yet he has been delivering consistently and this combination is what attracts advertisers. This is something we saw with MS Dhoni in his early days," he said.
This story first appeared on Moneycontrol