“If Sachin & Dhoni can do it, Virat Kohli can do it better,” seems to be the adage in the sports sponsorship department. The swashbuckling batsman Virat Kohli became the first Indian to notch three-figure deal by signing with Puma as sports apparel/performance partner.

What makes this endorsement unique is that a single sports brand has assured Virat Kohli a whopping three figure amount in crores. Earlier, Sachin Tendulkar & Mahendra Singh Dhoni was ‘assured’ Rs 100 crore each by their respective sports management agencies (as minimum guarantee) within a stipulated time.  

Virat Kohli’s Puma deal is in line with Adidas agreement which Sachin Tendulkar signed in the late 90’s.

  • Like the little master’s, this deal may further exempt Virat from continuing from his existing MRF bat deal in the first leg.
  • This will be a career long deal just like Sachin had with Adidas.
  • A separate range will also be created on the lines of Usain Bolts ‘Ignite’ series by Puma & SRT by Adidas that includes the farewell tricolour bat-grip used by Tendulkar in the penultimate & final Test of his career in 2013.
  • Will create merchandise around Kolhi’s signature line – VK.
  • Social media will be the key driver for sales and promotion.  

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Sports Sponsorship in olden days:

  • In the pre-partition era, Sialkot (in Punjab region of Pakistan) felicitated star hockey players and a huge procession followed with Dhyan Chand & his brother Roop Singh post the 1932 LA Olympics Gold Medal. In 1883, two families—Sardar Bahadur Singh and Sardar Ganda Sigh Oberoi—built India’s first sports factory to produce hockey sticks, Polo blades and cricket bats for British Army soldiers stationed in the northern sub-continent. Dhyan Chand & Roop Singh were employed by the Army.
  • In 1950’s & 60’s (pre Air Cargo / Courier days), players were offered lifelong supplies of sports equipment & apparels by companies and were summoned by manufacturers to ferry samples to international dealers during their international tours.
  • Indian fans got original autographs of the star players on the sports kit. First of its kind was (inset) Vijay Manjrekars original autograph which were advertised in sports magazines in early 60’s to improve sales. In fact, Manjrekar can be credited as one of the pioneers in cricket endorsements.