The pandemic infused 2021 observed numerous strong and smart business moves by the biggest names in Indian sports. Numerous companies turned their attention towards the sporting world to strengthen their stance and brand value. Let us have an overview of some of the most proactive Indian athletes in 2021, who uplifted their name in the sports industry with strong collaborations and efficient associations:
- Rishabh Pant
First and foremost on the list is the attacking batsman, Rishabh Pant. The man with stylishness all over his perky strokes managed to attract a lot of good firms this year that aimed for better brand representation. To start this year, he was roped in by the JSW Sports talent management group, becoming the first cricketer to have signed a multi-year deal with the company.
Under that association, the company would facilitate his endorsements while managing his social media monetization. Further in the period, notable brands like 90+ My Tuition App, Optimum Nutrition and Hercules bicycles signed him for the role of brand ambassador and featured the explosive wicketkeeper batsmen in advertisements, products, etc. Apart from that, the Uttarakhand government also turned to the southpaw to encourage sports in the state and made him the brand ambassador. Rishabh Pant also entered the metaverse of NFTs having partnered with Rario, for trading and sharing his greatest cricketing moments with his fan base through collectibles. Rario also named the Delhi Capitals skipper as its brand ambassador. The year 2021 was quite productive for the young cricketer and he would aim to further extend this trend in 2022.
2. Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Next on the list is the greatest wicketkeeper-batsman of all time, Mahendra Singh Dhoni. With the name, comes the brand value that the cricketer possesses which captivated companies to come under his umbrella of signings. The Chennai Super Kings captain had a very successful year as he represented numerous companies post-retirement. To start with, HomeLane appointed MSD as the brand ambassador. Following the path came other prominent firms such as the education platform Unacademy, Copter7 and the global brand, Neuberg Diagnostics, which made him the brand representative to capture the Indian market. The Captain Cool also featured in some popular campaigns such as the Sunfeast Yippee’s ‘OOH’ campaign, Indian Terrains’ clothing campaign and Copter7’s #goonemoreround campaign for selling chocolates and lastly the Vivo Pro Kabaddi League’s #JoBhidegaWohBhadega campaign to boost the youth and embark on the eighth season of India’s most awaited kabaddi tournament. Thus, the former Indian captain had an excellent year in terms of commercial activity.
3. Neeraj Chopra
We can’t forget this individual, particularly this year as the Olympian, Neeraj Chopra bagged the first-ever gold medal for India in track and field games in Tokyo Olympics. The 23-year-old created history and had an immediate impact on his brand value. He has been associated with some big brands like Nike, sports drink brand Gatorade, ExxonMobil, Gillette and MuscleBlaze sports supplements. Revised the contracts post-victory and signed up with new emerging firms like BYJU’s and Good Dot to become their brand ambassador. He also featured in the Vivo Pro Kabaddi League’s promo to inspire the youth and ignite the start of the enthralling tournament and also teamed up with Cred, featuring in several commercials for them. This year proved emphatic for Chopra and elevated his stance, equivalent to the biggest sports personalities in the industry.
4. Mirabai Chanu
Talking about Olympians, another star of the Tokyo edition, Mirabai Chanu won a silver medal for the country in weightlifting. Post this achievement, her endorsement fee doubled up and she was immensely supported through social media. Dominos was the first brand that collaborated with the athlete. The popular pizza franchise after gaining immense attention through the ‘free pizza for life’ promise to Chanu, teamed up with her for a digital activation deal. The weightlifter already had strong collaborations with Adidas and Mobil Oil, she got appointed as the brand ambassador of Amway India to represent their subsidiary brand Nutrilite, NEROCA FC to uplift the national recognition of the football club and Amrutanjan Healthcare to market their body products. Chanu also got offered a lot of advertisements, which included Adidas ‘Stay In Play’ campaign.
5. Rohit Sharma
To end this analysis on the best note, who is better deserved than our new white-ball captain Rohit Sharma. With having, the best Test cricketing career year, 2021 served the Hitman well in all aspects of growth whether it’s the leadership that is trusted on him following Virat Kohli’s departure or the huge opportunities of commercial activities he got offered throughout this period. In March, the veteran signed an endorsement deal with Glenmark Pharmaceuticals and became the brand ambassador of their legacy brand Candid Powder. Similar signings arrived, that included him getting appointed as a brand representative of the technological firm Tagg and Infinity Learn by Sri Chaitanya. The legendary Indian batsman was also seen in the Adidas campaign, ‘Impossible is Nothing’ to share his care for the endangered species for Rhinos. One of the greatest openers in the sport’s history recently made one of the biggest of all moves by partnering with the NFT platform, FanCraze to globalize his memorabilia. With the conclusion of 2021, the Mumbai Indians skipper has gradually built a massive brand value of himself and comes at par with the likes of Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni in the commercial arena.