Bindra now seen commanding Rs.20 mn per endorsement

August 11th, 2008 - 5:35 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Abhinav Bindra
By Anik Basu
New Delhi, Aug 11 (IANS) After winning India’s first individual gold at the Olympics, Abhinav Bindra can charge at least Rs.20 million ($500,000) per endorsement - an amount commanded by top Indian cricketers, says the sports management firm that handles his affairs. “I don’t see any reason why Bindra shouldn’t make at least a couple of crores (tens of millions of rupees) now,” said Latika Khaneja, director of Collage Sports Management, the firm representing the shooting ace.

“He is young, good looking and has a photogenic face. All of these factors count for signing up decent contracts,” said another advertising professional who has been dealing with celebrity endorsements.

One crore in India equals 10 million. If Khaneja’s calculations - as shared with IANS - prove right, Bindra will now be as valuable as top Indian cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar or Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

“We backed him at Athens. We have backed him now. It’s a dream come true for him and us,” said Ruchika Batra, corporate communication general manager for Samsung India, which is sponsoring the Indian contingent to the Beijing Olympics.

Indian sports celebrities seldom disclose contract amounts, but market reports say Tendulkar - the world’s most expensive cricketer - commands around Rs.30 million per endorsement.

Dhoni’s deals are believed to fetch between Rs.10 million and Rs.20 million.

Collage, which signed up the 24-year-old Bindra in 2004, also represents other sportspersons like Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Ishant Sharma - all members of the Indian cricket team, who reportedly ask for around Rs.3 million.

As per Khaneja’s calculations, endorsement counts commanded by these stars will then be cheaper than India’s latest Olympic hero if endorsements begin to come his way.

The Delhi-based sports marketing firm had also represented shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who won silver at the Athens Games. Between 2005 and 2006, he got the endorsement deals with the Sahara group, Hero Honda and Coca Cola.

Khaneja declined to dwell on possible campaigns around Bindra, saying it all depended on how much of a public figure the shooter wanted to be, or how his affluent family wanted to project him.

“I had expected endorsements to come his way after he won the World Championship gold medal (in 2006 in Zagreb, Croatia). But that didn’t happen,” Khaneja said. “Shooting has never been on the national radar. But this is a huge feat - this is about an Olympic medal.”

Samsung India, which has also awarded scholarships for seven athletes at Beijing Olympics, including Bindra, will publish an advertisement Tuesday congratulating the shooter in various newspapers Tuesday.

“But that is a minor issue,” said Batra.

Samsung does not have a brand ambassador as yet, apart from actor Aamir Khan who has been used for certain mobile phone campaigns. Batra, nevertheless, said her company did not want to comment if Bindra could fit that role.

“We will continue to be associated with Bindra,” is all that she would want to say now.

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