Athletes from across the world have been ranked according to their marketing potential over a three-year period from this summer.
- Value for money
- Home market
- Willingness to be marketed
- Crossover appeal
Indian, 28, Cricket
The world’s best player in a sport with global ambitions
Representatives: Cornerstone Sport and Entertainment
Key partners: Puma, MRF, TVS, Tissot, American Tourister
2016 ranking: 3
On a south London field in June, Virat Kohli led his country into what might yet be the year’s most-watched sporting event. Before a sold-out crowd of local fans, two or three generations removed from south Asian roots, some hardcore nuts who made intercontinental trips at four days’ notice, and a worldwide TV audience of hundreds of millions, India’s cricketers played Pakistan at the Oval in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy.
India have made a habit of beating their fiercest rivals, their new captain and best batsman of rising to his fullest height when the spotlight shines brightest. Yet here both collapsed. Mohammed Amir, a fallen prodigy bent on redemption, removed Kohli for five runs; Pakistan prevailed by 180.
“Why would I want to change anything about him? This is what the country needs; this is what he’s delivering for the Indian cricket team and for our country and even off the field today. The fact is that the top brands pay him top dollar because they see value in him.” - Bunty Sajdeh, Kohli’s agent and the founder of Cornerstone Sport and Entertainment
In the context of recent years this was a blip for the world’s best player, whose status only grows as others rise to join him. But the more competitive cricket is, the wider its boundaries spread, the better it will be for a man who has conquered its richest, most devoted market with such relentless focus.
The greater the International Cricket Council’s commitment to expanding the sport’s horizons, the better it will be for Kohli, or his Royal Challengers Bangalore, and for the brands he represents or has built on his own name. This is a global superstar in waiting. He now just needs a global game to prove it. EC