It is a two-in-one development. First, Saatchi & Saatchi on Wednesday announced the formation of ICONIX, a talent management agency. Secondly, it has been a dream start for ICONIX: it has won the contract to manage ‘brand Sachin’! The account size is learnt to be in the region of a mammoth Rs 180 crore, according to informed sources.
Harish Krishnamachar and Vinod Naidu will head the management team for ICONIX in India. Krishnamachar brings with him valuable experience in marketing and communication, but more importantly, an understanding of how brands can benefit from associating with cricket in specific, and sport in general. Naidu’s association with Sachin goes back eight years and each one of his associations has been crucial to managing them well. Naidu’s in-depth understanding of the sports business in India from conceptualisation to production all the way to the selling end is a strength that this company and Tendulkar value.
Announcing the launch, V Shantakumar, CEO & Managing Director, Saatchi & Saatchi, said, “The future of the discipline is bright in India and needs a change in terms of management style and vision. We believe we will bring our innovative ideas focus to make the difference.”
Commenting on his new association, Tendulkar said, “I am delighted to be the first client for this new venture. I have entrusted this new entity with the assignment of managing my affairs and have full confidence in their capabilities and in the fact that they will provide the requisite continuity to the brands I am currently associated with.”
ICONIX is being launched with the management of Tendulkar, but will move on to other talent in the areas of entertainment in addition to sports. It will manage all of Tendulkar’s existing brand associations as well as new ones.
The new entity begins operations as soon as incorporation formalities are completed. ICONIX will have representation in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi.
Though Tendulkar’s Rs 100-crore five-year contract with WorldTel Sports
came to an end last year, big-league celebrity management firms have failed to
sign up India’s richest sports star.
Said a source at Saatchi, “Sachin comes with a minimum guarantee of Rs 30-40 crore, which means only a few big players would be able to afford him. Sachin is the most marketable property in the country today.”
Despite his low-key on and off field performance in recent months, Tendulkar’s endorsement fee has remained far above that of Indian cricket captain Rahul Dravid and ex-captain Saurav Ganguly. For example, while Tendulkar charges anywhere upwards of Rs 6.5 crore per deal annually, the endorsement fees of Dravid and Ganguly range between Rs 1.5 crore and Rs 2 crore, according to informed sources.