New Delhi: Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli has hinted at launching new labels and products in the lifestyle and sports categories as he continues to build an empire off the field. “I need to have a life after cricket. And not knowing what I want to do in life, I’ve started with stuff that I can connect to and resonates with me,” he said.
Kohli, 28, endorses 17 brands currently. On Monday, smartphone maker Gionee said that it had signed on the cricketer. Other brands that he 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.
While Kohli’s three-year contract with German sportswear maker Adidas AG is over, his team is in talks with two other leading brands to further consolidate his endorsements portfolio.
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Business excites him, Kohli said in a telephone interview.
“Investments in start-ups and trying to get into the business side of things also really excites me and it pushes me to learn more about it, so I can be actively involved in more projects in the future. And that’s one thing I’m learning on a daily basis and something I will continue after I’m done with the game as well.”
On Tuesday, Kohli launched mobile games Stick Cricket and Virat Super Cricket with Mumbai-based games publisher Nazara Technologies. The games are expected to go live in February and March.
In the past three years, Kohli has ventured into six business ventures: football (he part-owns FC Goa in the Indian Soccer League), tennis (he part-owns UAE Royals), wrestling (he part-owns Bengaluru Yodhas), fashion (Wrogn), a chain of gyms (Chisel) and a tech start-up (Sports Convo).
Kohli is a co-owner in all six, but has invested an undisclosed amount only in FC Goa. In the others, he has sweat equity and gets money for promoting and marketing these ventures.
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“I am definitely a big fan of mobile games. It’s a great way to keep yourself entertained especially when you have games that are interactive and that’s what we are doing with Nazara. We are trying to create a couple of games which are interactive, one is Stick Cricket, a version with myself and Rohit (Sharma) . The other one, Virat Super Cricket, is different and gives you the real look and feel and the experience of playing on the field and recreating some of the innings that I have played myself in my career,” explained Kohli.
Nazara Technologies has also created games featuring Hrithik Roshan, and is also the firm behind the successful Chhota Bheem (Jungle Run) game, which was downloaded 14 million times in 2016.
Nazara reported Rs220 crore in revenues in 2015-16, with the Indian market contributing 47%.
Mobile gaming is the new entertainment frontier globally and in India as well, said Manish Agarwal, chief executive at Nazara Technologies.