He’s sold Pepsi, Hero Honda motorcycles and Tata Indicom phones. Now, Dada’s hawking personal computers made in his hometown.
Next week, Kolkata-based RP Infosystems Ltd, maker of low-cost Chirag computers, will launch a campaign on television and billboards featuring Sourav Ganguly, following a one-year deal signed with the star cricketer.
The campaign will do more than bring the former captain’s face onto yet another advertisement. It catapults him ahead of current Indian cricket team skipper Rahul Dravid in sponsorship earnings, making him the second-biggest sporting brand after Sachin Tendulkar. Until recently, it was unclear if Ganguly would even don the Indian blue next week as the World Cup begins.
Ganguly’s latest endorsement agreement is believed to be worth Rs1 crore, according to people with knowledge of the deal. It takes Ganguly’s earnings for this year to about Rs12.5 crore from 11 sponsors.
Industry estimates place Tendulkar ahead with Rs20 crore annually from 12 brands, with Dravid earning between Rs10-12 crore from 11 sponsors. The trio is followed by wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag, who earn Rs5-Rs7 crore each.
Until Ganguly’s dream comeback earlier this year, he had found no new sponsors. Despite this, he was still the third highest earner in terms of contracts at Rs8 crore, purely on the basis of his old agreements.
Over the past few months, the former Indian captain has found several backers: sports goods manufacturer Puma, consumer electronics company TCL, and now, RP Infosystems. He has also renewed his ties with two-wheeler manufacturer Hero Honda Ltd.
Industry insiders say the TCL deal is worth Rs1 crore, while Puma will pay Ganguly Rs1.35 crore. Percept D’Mark, the events and celebrity management company that represents Ganguly, did not confirm the star cricketer’s earnings.
Celebrity managers say it is Ganguly’s spirit as well as recent form with the bat that has brought in sponsors who till recently had looked the other way.
“The very fact that he has risen from the ashes appeal to the masses. They relate to him,” says Kolkata-based celebrity management firm Gameplan Sports chief executive Jeet Banerjee.
Sunil Kalra, a Delhi-based sports consultant, explains why corporate houses prefer Ganguly once again: “Ganguly is a fighter, and everyone wants to be associated with a fighter.”
What has also helped Ganguly is his striking form in a World Cup year; sources say the event invariably raises the endorsement value of star cricketers, on whom revolves the hopes and dreams of an entire nation.
By one estimate, cricketers such as Ganguly can command premium rates of 30-40% above their normal rates.