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, 27, Cricket
A sub-continental hero coming of age
Representatives: Cornerstone Sport and Entertainment
Key partners: Adidas, MRF, TVS, Tissot
2015 ranking: 6
Whatever is to come in the years ahead, the opening months of 2016 could define the career of Virat Kohli. India’s cricketers may have fallen short on home soil in the ICC World Twenty20, bludgeoned into submission by a West Indies team that would carry all before them, but their best player far exceeded even the outlandish expectations that have come to rest on his shoulders.
Few sportspeople face pressure like international batsmen, striding out to the very centre of an arena in the knowledge that a moment’s lapse can prompt endless regret. For those representing India, with those hundreds of millions of eyes trained upon them, that intensity builds to unimaginable proportions. Yet Kohli – in the blue of his country and latterly the colours of his Indian Premier League (IPL) team, Royal Challengers Bangalore – has seemed impervious to it in the most prolific spell of an outstanding career. Not only has he withstood such hostile conditions, he has bent them to his will.
There has also been a step-change this year in the commercial operation of an already established and engaging public figure. Kohli’s agent, Bunty Sajdeh, and his team have been working to build brands around their client, rather than simply attach him to others. It is an approach designed to build long-term stability; it could create a means of taking his profile some way beyond the boundary.
For now, though, there is time to enjoy a rare talent in its fullest expression. EC
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