Brand Sindhu sets sports endorsement market abuzz
Every Olympic cycle throws up new heroes. With PV Sindhu and Sakshi Malik being the only two medal winners in Rio 2016, they have occupied the Indian sports’ mindspace.But that’s till the Olympics fever lasted. Cricket eventually took over and India taking on a lowly New Zealand side has begun attracting eye balls. For Indian sport it’s business as usual.For all of Sakshi’s brilliance to win India’s first medal at Rio, the only other televised event she next gets to compete in before Tokyo 2020 will be the Asian and Commonwealth games. For brands looking for ambassadors, the limited visibility factor is a big let down.Unlike Sakshi though, PV Sindhu’s sport has greater appeal. Most international badminton tournaments are now telecast and with age on her side, most brand managers are backing the Hyderabadi girl to last the distance.Sindhu is in line to be the darling of the endorsement bazaar and on Cloud Nine, quite literally.Her brand managers have been working behind the scenes for the month following Rio and in talks with nine brands to have Sindhu as brand ambassador. Half of the deals are already sealed. Bank of Baroda who had Rahul Dravid as a brand ambassador in the past have signed up Sindhu and so have Vizag steel.Sindhu’s backroom team look at the unprecedented brand interest around her as an opportunity to establish her as a leader in the sports endorsement market in the non cricket space.”She is already there having achieved Olympic success early in her career and she can go much further. There has been great interest but we have gone quite slow. The key is to ensure that the brand is good and should match Sindhu’s values and it should be a long term deal,” says Ramkrishnan R, co-founder Baseline Ventures who manage Sindhu.advertisementHaving grown under the shadow of the pioneering performer Sania Nehwal, Sindhu had merely two modest deals before the medal happened. Her managers are now targeting around 10 brands a year with valuations in a crore plus range and an emphasis on multi year deals.The market has been abuzz with a rumoured 50 crores value targeted for Sindhu. She could be a trail blazer if she lives up to these numbers. “We haven’t given out these numbers but the valuations are deserving of her talent and potential,” Ramkrishnan says.Sindhu shared stage with the big and mighty of Indian sport at the ISL launch, while the magical Rajnikant was the chosen one in the past. Sindhu’s social media space is full of her photographs with bollywood personalities and cricketers. A stylist now helps takes care of her off field image makeover.Sindhu may soon occupy our tv advertisement space with Sania Mirza and Sania Nehwal the only two other money spinners in the non cricket space.Given her giant killer instincts, performance and fitness permitting, Sindhu could easily compete in two more Olympic cycles. These are dynamics very well understood by brands. The newest poster girl of Indian badminton has the potential to go where few non cricket sportsmen in India have.