Often regarded as “The God of Cricket”, “Master Blaster” and “The Little Master”, Sachin Tendulkar, one of the greatest cricketers ever to hold a cricket bat, completed yet another half-century. But this time it’s off the cricket pitch, as the former Indian cricket team’s captain turned 50 today, i.e. Monday, April 24.
The Mumbai-batter made his international debut on November 15, 1989, against Pakistan, which had the pace duo of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, who could deceive batters with their swing and pace. Somehow he managed to outplay them as his career went on, but the set of bowlers whom he prevailed against doesn’t just include Wasim-Waqar, but also the likes of Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Chaminda Vaas, Brett Lee, Shoaib Akhtar and the list goes on. Even after almost a decade of his retirement, Sachin still holds the record for most international runs, 34,357, with 15921 in Tests, 18426 in ODIs and 10 in just one T20I game he played. The 50-year-old was also the first male cricketer to score a double century in ODIs. His humongous record of 100 centuries is also unlikely to be broken in the coming few years.
With the advent of the Indian Premier League (IPL), a major two-month competition in the country wouldn’t have been imagined without Sachin. He went on to play for Mumbai Indians (MI), who are currently amongst the most successful teams of the tournament, for more than five years and retired from the competition mid-season in 2013. Currently, he is designated as an “Icon” at MI.
Tendulkar played his final international game on November 14, 2013, against West Indies in front of his home crowd. A couple of years before his last international fixture, Sachin achieved his dream of winning the ODI World Cup for which he started playing the sport. Sachin, one of the GOATs of the sport, had to wait for over two decades to lay his hands on the World Cup trophy. Tendulkar’s WC triumph came full circle as India won the final in Mumbai, where he was born and grew up playing the sport of bat and ball.
SACHIN’S MIDAS TOUCH OFF THE FIELD:
A cricketer from a middle-class family from Shivaji Park, who made his international debut in his teens, had the game within his grasp at the international level within half a decade after playing his maiden fixture for the country. Following his work of art on the cricket pitch, the retired cricketer, who aced the straight drive, brought his Midas touch onto the commercial pitch too. Before Sachin’s debut, the game of cricket in the country had witnessed India winning a WC, its ripples were seen on the field soon and also in the commercial outing of some of the youngsters during the 1980s like Kapil Dev and Ravi Shastri.
In the wake of Liberalisation, Privatisation and Globalisation (LPG), when the country was opening its borders to the world, many foreign brands across all sectors came to India. With the market widening within the territory, local brands also upped their marketing and advertising expenditure. Multiple multinational brands saw cricket as a medium for introducing and affirming themselves to the audience. Following the recognition of an industry or market, some of the renowned names banked upon Sachin, who went on to become the poster boy of Indian cricket for the upcoming decade.
Commenting on multinational brands partnering with Sachin in the 1990s, Mr Shyam Balasubramanian, Co-author of The Business of Cricket, said, “Economic liberalisation and the mass marketing of global brands in the 1990s – this meant that when Pepsi needed an ambassador vs Coca-Cola or Colgate Total needed one against Close Up, they reached out to the same mass figure. The Pepsi team in particular built the kind of image around cricket that didn’t just sell cola but it sold cricket to the country.“
Speaking on the same, Mr Tuhin Mishra, Managing Director and Co-Founder, Baseline Ventures, said, “The impact of Sachin Tendulkar in this very sector was huge. It was also the timing as complete economic liberalization was happening. We were getting all these foreign brands coming into the country. The satellite and its landscape just exploded during that time as we had all these international as well as domestic channels. Basically, the cable industry came to the fore and suddenly there were a lot of brands coming into the country and domestic brands were also giving their best to beat the new competition. Everyone was just increasing their marketing efforts. And the biggest beneficiary, obviously picking Sachin, because at that point he was in his early twenties and was already an overachiever and was on his way to becoming the biggest sporting icon.”
OFF THE “MARK” IN STYLE:
The Master Blaster had a lot of partnerships with the likes of Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and many more cricketers but his partnership with Mark Mascarenhas was the most fruitful one as it added a fortune to his net worth. The WorldTel CEO, Mascarenhas was ahead of the curve in understanding Sachin’s value off the field on the commercial pitch. In 1996, Mark inked a whopping INR 31.5 crore deal with Tendulkar for five years. This deal immediately became the talk of the town as it was the first time a solo cricketer was involved in such extravagant financials.
Commenting on the partnership between Sachin and Mark, Mr Paroksh Chawla, CEO, ITW Catalyst, said, “Everyone knows of Master Blaster’s contribution to the sport on the field but he also changed the face of sports management off the field, back in the 1990s when he signed a contract with Mark Mascarenhas’ WorldTel. The five-year contract which was worth between 25-30 Crores, an unheard-of sum in cricket for an individual player those days, revolutionised how player contracts and endorsements worked in the country. Sachin had been endorsing quite a few brands back then but his highest endorsement deal before this was at 16 lakhs a year. The WorldTel contract set the benchmark for the future because this move ushered in the advent of the Player’s Manager – a role that equips the likes of Virat and Dhoni today to flourish in the commercial space.”
THE CROWD PULLER:
In the 1990s and 2000s, a fixture between India and Australia involved ferocious battles and a 5.5-inch cricketer fighting against the mighty and tall Aussie bowlers portrayed a perfect heartwarming climax.
In the Australia tour of India 2004, the hosts were 0-1 after the first two Tests. The gate sales for the very same two games were underwhelming, courtesy of India’s poor performance and Tendulkar being injured. The initial ticket sale for the third Test in Nagpur was insignificant but the city association witnessed the ticket sale increase by three folds in a day itself when Sachin was declared fit for the fixture.
In one more instance when Australia visited India in 2009, the ODI series was 2-2 with the decider being in Hyderabad. India was chasing 351, Sachin put his best foot forward in pursuing the mammoth total and smashed 175 off 141 deliveries. At the end of the game, the Men in Blue were second to the Aussies but the TRPs were second to none with a rating of 7.1. The average TRP of that particular series overall was 5.51. ODI cricket being primarily popular back in the day and Tendulkar opening the innings, benefitted the broadcasters in terms of viewership, as the Master Blaster could be on the pitch from the first ball itself.
Adding on this topic, Mr Shyam, said, “One-day internationals and the World Cup, in particular, was the most viewed format of Sachin’s era (thanks to World Cup 1983 and Benson & Hedges 1985). His game was suited to all formats but being a one-day opener made him a TRP driver in a mass format.”
Tendulkar is at present the richest cricketer across the globe. His net worth is reportedly around INR 1300 crore and his gigantic wealth can be attributed to his endorsement deals, investments, and contracts with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and IPL along with his international commentary stints.
Tendulkar’s current home resides in one of the poshest localities in Mumbai overlooking the Arabian Sea, which cost the former MI captain INR 39 crore in 2007.
There would only be a handful of sportspersons around the globe who could match up with the decorated endorsement portfolio of The God of Cricket. Sachin’s cricketing career, which sprawled across 24 years, saw him partner up with some of the globally renowned brands.
Johnson & Johnson Band-Aid, Boost, PepsiCo, Action Shoes, MRF Tyres, Adidas, Britannia, Paytm, TVS, ESPN, Star Sports, Sunfeast, Canon, Airtel, G.M. Pens, Fiat Palio, Toshiba, Colgate-Palmolive, Philips, VISA, Castrol India, Apollo Tyres, Coca Cola, Jaypee Cement, Musafir, Luminous India, UNICEF, Smartron Audemars Piguet, Reliance Communications, ICC World Cup 2015, Rio Olympic 2016, ICC Women’s World Cup 2017, Indian Olympic Association, Sony Pictures Network, National Egg Coordination Committee, Oxigen, G-Hanz, Sanyo BPL, Ujala Techno Bright, Livpure, Power Footwear, Slazenger, Aster Pharmacy, DBS Bank, Aviva Life Insurance, Amit Enterprises, Kaspersky Internet Security, Royal Bank of Scotland, Nazara Technologies, Prime Meridian, IDBI Federal Life Insurance, Spartan Sports International, Bajaj, Gillette, Mastercard, Pleasure Cruise, Idea Cellular, Unacademy, Spinny, Quaker Oats, JioCinema, Savlon, Chalo App, Mutual Funds Sahi Hai, Ageas Federal Life insurance, and Rario.
The two-decade experience of playing the sport didn’t just provide him with wealth and fans, but also exposure to the other side of the sport. Leveraging his experience and understanding, Sachin managed to invest in multiple companies ranging from several different fields.
Smartron India, Smaaash Entertainment, JetSynthesys, Spinny, International Premier Tennis League (IPTL), S Drive and Sach, ‘Sachin’s & Tendulkar’s’, Musafir, Sports Franchisees, True Blue, and SRT Sports Management.