Virat Kohli now ahead of Dhoni and Tendulkar in endorsements

Home Minister RPN Singh (L) and BSF DG Subhash Joshi felicitate Indian cricketer Virat Kohli after appointing him as the first brand ambassador of Border Security Force at BSF Mess on September 22, 2013 in New Delhi, India. Kohli has been roped in by the Border Security Force (BSF) in order to bolster the appeal of the 2.5-lakh personnel strong force which is primarily tasked to guard two crucial Indian borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh. (Getty Images)

India’s middle-order batsman Virat Kohli has set the world of brand endorsements ablaze.  The nation’s favourite heart-throb who is next in line to lead the country’s cricket team has inked a 10 crore per annum deal with German sports brand Adidas, reports TOI.

Virat Kohli who recently captained the team in the Zimbabwe series, where India won the series 5-0, is hot property in the endorsement market right now. He also penned down a deal worth 6.5 crore with MRF, who previously had Steve Waugh and Sachin Tendulkar as their brand ambassadors. His aggression, good looks, super consistent performance and never say die attitude make him a fan favourite.

Kohli, who will turn 25 in November, earned Rs. 40 crore through endorsements alone last year, but this figure will definitely swell up with these 2 deals in his kitty. Currently Kohli features with 13 brands that include heavyweights like Pepsi, Toyota and Cinthol.

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Bunty Sajdeh-led Cornerstone Sport and Entertainment manages the Indian vice-captain’s endorsement contracts.

Kohli’s endorsement fees has seen a steep rise over the past year, rivalling Besharam actor Ranbir Kapoor, who happens to be the hottest brand ambassador in the film industry. Till last year the cricket star used to demand Rs 3 crore, which has gone upto Rs. 6 crore now.

The Rs 10-crore-a-year deal with Adidas propels him to a different league altogether.

“For the past few years, Dhoni has been ruling the endorsement space, but Kohli is catching up very fast. While Dhoni connected well with the masses, Kohli has a more urban appeal which a lot of brands want to cash in on,” said Indranil Das Blah, COO of celebrity management firm CAA Kwan.

Until recently, the former U-19 World Cup winning captain Kohli and Nike, a sports goods company based in the US, were in a five-year contract inked in 2008. However, the two parties got involved in a nasty standoff when the American sportswear manufacturer filed a case against Kohli saying that the cricketer had breached the contractual agreement between the two.

The contract reportedly had a clause which said that Kohli would continue as brand ambassador until 2014. The Karnataka High Court though ruled in favour of Kohli, thereby giving him the freedom to sign endorsement deals with other sporting brands.

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