Indian companies are spending almost Rs 100 crore on cricketers from India as well as other countries for endorsing their brands as the countdown begins for the World Cup in South Africa in February 2003.
The money was almost three times what companies had spent on cricketers during the last World Cup in England in 1999.
According to industry sources Sachin Tendulkar charged Rs 8-10 crore for a three-year contract, while Sourav Ganguly’s fees for an annual contract were around Rs 2 crore. An annual contract with Sehwag could cost up to Rs 1 crore.
While LG has signed up all the 14 captains of the participating teams, Pepsi, apart from eight Indian players including Sachin Tendulkar and Saurav Ganguly, has roped in the West Indies’ Carl Hooper, England’s Nasser Hussain, South Africa’s Jonty Rhodes and Australia’s Shane Warne.
Seagrams has inked pacts with eight international cricketers including Wasim Akram, Jonty Rhodes and Marvan Atapattu. Sahara already has the entire team under its banner.
Sehwag has been recently roped in by Himalaya Drugs, Adidas and Mayur Suitings. Many more are going to join the bandwagon soon. Even a company like South African Breweries, which does not believe in celebrity endorsements, is trying to rope in some cricketers as its brand ambassadors.
The new feature this time is that a large number of foreign cricketers have been roped in. Companies feel tying up with the international cricketers gives them an international positioning.
According to analysts, companies are making a beeline to the cricketers, thanks to the recent good performance of the Indian team at a time when Bollywood, the only other saleable brand in the country after cricket, is doing badly. Few films have done well on the box office and there is no superstar of the stature of Amitabh Bachchan.