Home / Industry / Advertising /  Retirement may not impact MS Dhoni’s brand image

The brand value of cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni is unlikely to be diminished by his sudden exit from international cricket, experts tracking the industry said.

Once called captain cool, Dhoni is India’s only cricket captain to win all three International Cricket Council (ICC) trophies. He has led India to victories in several one-day and T20 matches, his success leading to large brand endorsement deals leveraging his stable persona and immense popularity.

Dhoni has been associated with online gaming platform Pokerstars, Cars24, Indian Terrain, redBus, luxury watch brand Panerai, Ashok Leyland, Coca-Cola’s sports drink Powerade, Snickers, Dream11, Gulf Oil India, Indigo Paints, realtor Sumadhura Group and others. The 39-year-old has also done multiple project-based campaigns with online retailer Flipkart and Association of Mutual Funds in India (Amfi).

According to market estimates, Dhoni currently charges 1.5 crore for every day of shooting, which is unlikely to be impacted by a significant margin. “Reportedly, his rates were already softer after he quit the longer form of the game and retirement was looming large. He charges may be half of what Virat Kohli does. So, if as a brand manager, one wants a saleable celebrity, and has a lower budget, Dhoni for a while has been the best cost-effective choice," said Sandeep Goyal, chief mentor of the Indian Institute of Human Brands.

Goyal said Dhoni’s retirement will not immediately impact his appeal—many contracts are still in force, and he will play the Indian Premier League in autumn this year and spring next year.

According to the Duff & Phelps Celebrity Brand Valuation study, Dhoni had a brand value of $41.2 million in 2019, placing him at the ninth spot, up from the previous year’s rank 12. He is the only cricketer in the list of top 10 celebrities, topped by Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli, with a brand value of $237.5 million.

According to Tuhin Mishra, managing director of Baseline Ventures, a sports management firm, the value of an active sportsperson declines with retirement. Yet, Dhoni is an icon and will always have a certain value for the brands, Mishra said.

“Dhoni, as a brand, brings humility and stability to the table. He comes across as a leader and people are ready to embrace that quality. People are willing to listen to what he has to say; that works wonderfully well in his favour," he added.

The cricketer’s recent campaigns with mutual funds industry body Amfi, online pharmaceuticals firm Netmeds and global payments firm Mastercard reflect the gravitas, relevance and authority of his personality which can influence consumers, some analysts said.

Shuchi Bansal contributed to the story.

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