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What impact will World Cup performance have on brand endorsement fees for Indian cricketers?

Ganapathy Viswanathan, an independent communication consultant, writes that as the IPL gears up to commence in four months, brand teams are contemplating how to capitalise on the exposure of World Cup team cricketers for their brands.

The 2023 World Cup Cricket may not really catapult the brand endorsement fees of our cricketers but there will be some hike as the overall performance was very good.

As the IPL gears up to commence in four months, brand teams are contemplating how to capitalise on the exposure of World Cup team cricketers for their brands.

Actually, some of the brand leaders are not so upset with India losing the World Cup finals as the value of the cricketers who have been endorsing brands will not dip. But had India won they would have been hugely benefitted.

Let us also remember that cricket has no language barriers and cricket is still seen as a religion. Fans will follow the game and so will the brands, as it helps the brands to engage with their audiences at multiple touch points.

According to news reports, the endorsement fee is likely to go up but by what percentage is something where there will be a debate. Brands are also smart in negotiating hard when it comes to signing up a cricketer, all the more now as India couldn’t win the World Cup finals.

We had over 26 sponsors during this World Cup who participated in the various brand engagement programs during this World Cup and the viewership was mindboggling both on TV and digital.

The finals alone drew 30 crore TV viewers and a digital live concurrency of 5.9 crore during the clash between India and Australia.

These figures are just saying that while cricket is here to stay so is a brand endorsement by cricketers.

If India had won the World Cup the brand value of these cricketers and the future of cricketers would have shot up. However, there is a point to be noted that a few of our cricketers will slowly exit the scene and it will take some time for the new cricketers to establish their standing and demand a high endorsement fee. And the people who have about two years of cricket left will in all likelihood be locked in only for a shorter duration and brands will not take the risk of investing them for a longer period.

There are certain players like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah who will still command a premium individually as they have excelled and what’s important is that they have maintained their performance consistency.

Also looking at the potential and the growth of sports and entertainment, Virat himself has launched a sports management company to bring in more sports celebrities and also share his knowledge and expertise in this field which he has learnt over 15 years by endorsing various brands across categories.

Looking ahead to the T-20 World Cup next year, brand marketers adopt a cautious "wait and watch" approach. Brands will likely be reserved in signing new cricketing faces unless exceptionally talented, and existing contracts may not see a hike when they expire. With the T-20 World Cup preceding the festive season, brands prefer to allocate budgets strategically.

Also, since the T-20 World Cup follows the IPL, brands would play the wait-and-watch game in spending on cricketers as post the T-20 World Cup the festive season will commence and they need budgets for that.

Even the viewership of the matches played during the T-20 World Cup will not be that encouraging as the timings will be late in the night in India which will not excite the brands to be present.

Despite the T-20 World Cup's potential late-night timings in India affecting viewership, there's speculation that some brands may consider signing Australian cricketers who captured the Indian audience's attention during this World Cup. The Australians' display of resilience, speed, and agility aligns well with the values of certain Indian brands.

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