The brand equity of cricketer Suryakumar Yadav is on the rise, as he continues to outperform at the ongoing T20I World Cup in Australia. Yadav, 32, is all set to sign six to seven more deals across categories such as apparels, beverages, media and mobile accessories in the next one month, as per talent management firm RISE Worldwide, which manages his endorsement and brand profile.
Yadav is said to have hiked the fee he charges to about Rs 65 lakh a day, from Rs 20 lakh a day he was charging in 2021. The cricketer currently has over 10 brands in his kitty, including companies such as Dream11, Pintola peanut butter, Forma Helmets, Royal Stag, FanCraze’s Faze NFT, Maxima Smartwatches, SS cricket equipment and Boult Audio.
At the time he was signed by RISE Worldwide in July 2021, Yadav had four brands in his portfolio. Today, he endorses 10 brands, while about seven to eight deals are expected to be announced in a month. The talent management firm is aiming to close the year with 18 to 20 brands for the player.
Rising brand equity, digital popularity
Nikhil Bardia, head of sponsorship sales and talent management at RISE Worldwide Limited, says that the firm has extensively worked on his social media content which has led to creating a deeper connect with fans online. Currently, the cricketer has over 4.9 million followers on Instagram and 1.7 million on Twitter.
“His Instagram following has gone up by 300 percent, and he is in the top 10 when it comes to active users on Instagram. This is something that we have been working on building from a narrative perspective. Yadav is a witty and smart guy. He's got a good balance of humour, and at the same time, he's very hardworking. He's also a family man. So, all these personality attributes make him exciting for brands,” he notes.
Yadav has signed multi-year contracts, including digital deals, with the brands.
“Apart from being approachable, Yadav has the ability to collaborate with content creators. Advertisers who work with him are confident that he can do television campaigns where he can easily communicate about the product that he's endorsing. He's also able to hold a conversation when he's doing the meet and greets with fans as well,” Bardia adds.
Anand Patel, owner of Pintola, which recently signed up Suryakumar Yadav as its brand endorser, says that the cricketer’s innovative approach and pursuit of excellence ride on his unique ability to hit the ball to any corner of the ground.
“He truly embodies the values of the brand, something that seamlessly resonates with the idea of Pintola, which has a holistic range of nut butter and extends much into the future, touching the new realms of healthy eating and living,” he adds.
Pintola is aiming to further strengthen its market share and connect with the young Indian consumer segment to reach 100 million households in the next two years.
Sandeep Goyal, Managing Director of Rediffusion Brand Solutions Pvt Ltd, shares that cricket endorsements are often dominated by team captains. However, there have been exceptions too.
“Players such as Shikhar Dhawan, Yuvraj Singh, KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma have bagged good deals. Two out of every three ads have always gone to captains. Rohit Sharma is not that charismatic and Virat Kohli has fallen out of grace. So, this creates space for players such as Suryakumar Yadav. He has not disappointed in the ongoing World Cup with a couple of good innings ahead of him. I believe he will do well in the next two to three years or so in the brand endorsement space if he continues to perform well,” he explains.
Yadav’s rise has been in line with the spending on sports celebrity endorsements, which grew 11 percent year-on-year (YoY) in 2021, according to ‘Sporting Nation in The Making’, a report published by GroupM ESP, the entertainment, esports and sports division of media company GroupM. A total of 444 brand endorsement deals have been closed in 2021, with cricketers accounting for 318 endorsement deals and 87 percent of total brand endorsement value.