New Delhi: German sportswear brand Adidas AG has not renewed its three-year endorsement contract with Virat Kohli—a surprise given that the Indian cricket captain is at the top of his game.
“It was an amicable decision made by both parties,” a person familiar with the development said on condition of anonymity.
In early 2014, Kohli signed a deal worth Rs30 crore with Adidas. The deal was up for renewal last month.
Adidas, on its part, said it will continue its association with cricket.
“The association with Virat Kohli added a lot of value and helped strengthen the Adidas brand in the past few years, and we wish him well for his future. Needless to say, Adidas will continue to support cricket through its assets such as Rohit Sharma, K.L. Rahul and many other next-gen athletes. We will also continue to drive our key categories such as running, football, training and originals with even more focus and investments,” an Adidas India spokesperson said in an emailed response.
At present, Kohli endorses 17 brands. On Monday, smartphone maker Gionee said that it had signed on the cricketer. Other brands Kohli endorses include Swiss luxury watch maker Tissot, men’s ethnic clothing brand Manyavar, Punjab National Bank, MRF Tyres, Colgate’s SuperFlexi Toothbrush and real estate developer Nitesh Estates.
Kohli’s batting exploits and never-say-die attitude on the field have not just endeared him to fans of cricket, but also made the 28-year-old a marketer’s darling.
In 2016, Kohli was head and broad shoulders above his peers. In 41 innings across the three formats, he made 2,595 runs, at an incredible average of 86.5. Kohli crossed 50 on 20 occasions. Seven of them were hundreds.
“Virat is one of the biggest celebrity brands in the country today outside of the big names from Bollywood—the Khans and Ranbir Kapoor,” said Indraneel Das Blah, chief operating officer at Kwan Entertainment and Marketing Solutions, a talent management firm. “As he matures and evolves further across all formats of the game, he will consolidate both his brand and legacy (on the pitch). He’s also been very smart with his investments off the field and could potentially be one of the reasons he’s no longer representing Adidas. He could be working on his own sporting label quietly.”
Bunty Sajdeh, Kohli’s manager and chief executive of sports management agency Cornerstone Sports and Entertainment Pvt. Ltd, said last year that Kohli was not just about cricket anymore. “He’s an iconic brand who appeals to the youth of this country. A lot of his traits—being fearless, go getter, hungry, passionate and ambitious—are reflective in his brand choices,” Sajdeh said in a Mint article in April.
His brand associations have to make strategic sense, added Sajdeh.
“I have to be totally convinced that the brand has a plan and a vision about how they plan to use Virat creatively as well as strategically in the marketing of their product. Most of his brands are in sync with his personality,” Sajdeh said.