Home / Sports / Cricket News /  Women cricketers get attention from brands as WPL nears

NEW DELHI : Brands are queuing up to woo India’s women cricketers now to endorse their merchandise. India’s comprehensive win over England in the final of the inaugural ICC Women’s U19 World Cup, and upcoming Women’s Premier League (WPL) are behind this trend.

Some companies are testing the waters with limited campaigns online. Last week, Puma launched a campaign featuring India captain Harmanpreet Kaur. “The captain of Indian women’s cricket team was launched over a unique social media experiment that revealed gender perception in sports. Almost 80% of respondents assumed our next brand ambassador would be a male cricketer," said Shreya Sachdev, head, marketing for Puma India.

There’s a perception issue, and it’s not just for cricket. Perhaps, cricket is better off than other sports, but when it comes to women’s sports in India, in general, the kind of visibility that they deserve, is never given, she said.

“The achievements are no less than any male sport. We won the Under 19 World Cup, for example. And we as a brand want the country to feel proud of their achievements but we understand that these are nowhere as celebrated as they should be. And, obviously, going out there and lecturing people on how they need to pay more attention never works as a device. So our entire idea to reveal her as a mystery brand ambassador, was a simple social experiment," Sachdev added.

“The Indian women’s team lifting the ICC U19 World Cup trophy as well as the hype around the WPL are likely to catalyse the women cricketers in expanding their endorsement portfolios. Top cricketers like Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur are already endorsing over 20 brands (in total) and have added marquee companies such as Hyundai, ICICI Bank, and Puma," said Aviral Jain, managing director valuation advisory, Kroll, formerly Duff & Phelps.

“There has also been an exponential increase in their cumulative social media followers in recent years with more than 15 million and 5 million followers for Mandhana and Kaur, respectively. The numbers are comparable with some of the emerging and successful male cricketers, including Rishabh Pant. With WPL, some new faces could become household names," Jain said.

Mint has learned that players like Mandhana charge 50 lakh- 80 lakh, going up to even 1 crore for certain deals. While Kaur’s fee is 40 lakh- 60 lakh per brand endorsement, in line with what some entry-level male cricketers get for endorsements. Younger women cricketers charge 15 lakh- 20 lakh.

Baseline Ventures, which manages cricketers such as Mandhana is seeing growing interest in endorsement for both under 19 women cricketers and the senior team, Tuhin Mishra, co-founder and managing director of the company said. The firms are looking to onboard these players in the digital space or as brand ambassadors, he added.

Varuni Khosla
Varuni Khosla is a journalist with close to 14 years of experience in writing business news stories for mainstream newspaper companies like Mint and The Economic Times. She reports and writes on luxury and lifestyle brands, hospitality and tourism news, the business of sports, the business of advertising and marketing and alcohol brands.
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