The former Indian captain, Virat Kohli has been considered India’s most valuable celebrity for several years. He is also the only sportsperson to make it into the top ten list of the most valued celebrities, which is dominated by Bollywood stars. Kohli’s brand value was estimated to be $237.7 million. The cricketer is followed by actor Akshay Kumar, who is a distant second with a brand valuation of $118.9 million.
The right-handed batsman endorses 30+ brands across sectors which includes food and beverage, men’s grooming, cars and tyres, healthcare products, online gaming, smartphones, apparel, audio gadgets, online learning, ACs, digital insurance, fitness supplements, snack food, smartwatches and luxury watches, travel and transportation.
Puma, MRF, Vivo, Uber India, MPL, Phillips, Audi, Tissot, Too Yumm, American Tourister, Myntra, Manyavar, Digit Insurance, Muve Acoustics, Himalaya, Great Learning, Google Duo, and other brands have benefited enormously after associating with Kohli.
Since 2018, his social media following has grown at a CAGR of 35.4 per cent, more than any other celebrity in India. His total following on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook has collectively increased by nearly 60% in the last year. According to the study, he was the highest-paid cricketer on Instagram in 2021 as the player charged an average fee of INR 5 crore per paid post.
The last 12-13 months have been a roller coaster ride for Kohli as a captain. The 36-all out against Australia, Royal Challengers Bangalore got eliminated after qualifying for the IPL playoffs, India lost the World Test Champion final, the Men in Blue failed to qualify for the T20 World Cup 2021 semi-finals and also lost 2-1 against South Africa earlier this month. On the brighter side, India registered two victories in Tests against England in England under his captaincy.
Kohli announced before the T20 World Cup 2021 that the tournament would be his final stint as T20I captain. India’s first match was against Pakistan, which they lost by ten wickets. Following that, they were defeated by New Zealand by an eight-wicket margin.
Ahead of the second phase of IPL 2021, Kohli announced that the season would be his last edition as RCB’s captain. In December, the Delhi batsman was sacked from the ODI captaincy and last week he decided to step down from the Test captaincy too.
With the bat, Kohli has been able to get a start but isn’t managing to convert into a big score across all three formats. Due to this, Kohli hasn’t managed to score a century since November 2019.
In this rough patch, the cult fan following of the cricketer has stood beside him and supported him through thick and thin.
Virat got backing from brands across sectors as the Head of Audi India, Balbir Singh Dhillon, commented, “Virat Kohli perfectly embodies the progressive, premium image of brand Audi. He has been a part of the Audi India family for a long time and is a great fit for the brand, as both exemplify brilliant innovation in their performance.”
Puma, a German sportswear company that signed an eight-year deal with Kohli in 2017, has also backed him.
“Virat Kohli leaves behind an outstanding legacy of captaincy. He is an exceptional performer as a leader, a player and overall, as an athlete. He has inspired and will continue to inspire everyone who keenly follows cricket and even those who don’t. It’s our privilege at PUMA to be in a long-term partnership with Virat,” said Puma MD Abhishek Ganguly.
Kohli is one of the country’s highest-paid endorsers, he came out on top in Duff & Phelps’ ‘Celebrity Brand Valuation Study’.
Apart from endorsing brands, Kohli also has a stake in the clothing brand ‘WROGN.’ Along with this, the former captain is also a supporter of the fintech startup, Digit Insurance.
The facts and numbers do say that the brand of mighty Virat Kohli will remain strong and won’t be affected by the on-field events. The brand Kohli is likely to be at stake due to the recent happenings, but it’s worth remembering that the right-hander has a massive fan base, and had a consumer following even before he became the captain of the Indian team.