Playing Cricket is no longer just for a national cause. It’s now a profession! Yes, you got me right. If you are a sportsperson and more precisely an international cricketer then you need not do anything for a living. The gentlemen’s game of cricket has now commercialised. Business tycoons like Mr Mukesh Ambani and Mr Vijay Mallya are investing colossal amounts in the cricket league – IPL. Various leading brands have made several Indian cricketers as their brand ambassadors. Here are some:
The Indian Captain MS Dhoni was recently reported to endorse 22 brands! Sachin Tendulkar has been the brand ambassador for Cannon. Dravid has been the same for Sansui. Yuvraj is endorsing Royal Stag and SBI card. Sehwag too is endorsing Coke, Adidas and many more brands. The list is interminable. And recently Dhoni had a deal MS Dhoni signed the biggest marketing deal ever by an Indian sportsman with the sports management company Rhiti. And guess what the deal is? Rhiti will handle his endorsements, merchandise, advertising rights, digital rights and his appearances on social networking sites. So, now enterprises are paying for supervision of endorsements of a player as well! Afore I didn’t think that handling personal endorsements was a mammoth task!
So, where does this lead us to? The big question is: Do these massive reimbursements affect the performance of players? And, if it does what measures need be taken. The answer is undeniably yes in most cases. Irfan Pathan on being asked about comeback in the Indian team in an interview answered that now there are many other stages like IPL. Now, this avowal definitely would have not appeared if this prodigious swinger was not the brand ambassador for Gilette and earning a handsome amount through IPL & endorsements itself!
But, the underperformance can lead to oust from the team and indirectly cessation of an endorsement contract! It’s an extra responsibility after all. So, it can serve as a stimulus to perform as well. We have already seen maverick Tendulkar’s return to vintage form for the past year. And, Dhoni has also performed terrifically well even after being in the limelight since his debut as a captain. He has matured as a player and even nurtured and boosted youngsters like Raina at the same time as well. He has led the team from the front with his composure and ‘cool as a cucumber’ outlook.
At the end I feel the cricketers deserve to earn hefty if they make great contributions to the side. They are mature and intelligent enough to comprehend and show a professional character on the field. It depends on the player to take up the endorsement opportunity in a positive vibe. And the BCCI or any other regulatory body need not interrupt any player in his personal endorsement agreements until he loses dedication and shows fastidious attitude towards the game. Rather the affluent BCCI should think over and augment the remuneration for the domestic Ranji players based on their performance!