Brands need to take notice of these non-cricket sports stars

Sneha Yadav
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unsung sports stars

The biggest sports leagues will be taking 2019 by storm and advertisers need to roll their sleeves to identify raw and untapped talent to narrate the story of these Indian unsung sports stars adding their creative touch.

In the country where ‘cricket’ chanting couldn't take a breath and also touted no less than a ‘religion’, sports like Kabaddi, Football, Tennis have paved their way like none other. The influx of various sports league like Hockey India league, Super Fight league and more have made the nation talk beyond the boundary of a cricket field and venture into the world of goals and shuttlecock.

According to the FICCI-EY Report 2019, Indian sports market was valued at over INR185 billion. There are now over 16 domestic leagues in the country across kabaddi, football, wrestling, boxing, badminton – from just two leagues five years ago. New sports leagues, including volleyball, Andhra

Pradesh Cricket League, Kho-Kho League, Karate, etc. have been launched

According to the fourth edition of India’s Most Powerful Celebrity Brands report released by Duff and Phelps, while Virat Kohli became India’s most valued celebrity with an estimated brand worth of $170 million, P.V.Sindhu was placed at no.15 with a brand value of $21.6 million.

Although brands have found huge potential in the cricket icon and the ace shuttler, there is a huge chunk of talent who have proved their mettle and continue to be limitless. 

With IPL, World Cup, ISL, Premier Futsal, and many more roaring to take place in 2019, marketers need to go beyond the likes of Kohli to explore the abundant value sports marketing. According to reports, online industry experts have also felt that now is the time for the consumer brands to explore new and the existing talent, while some are untapped and a few are already stars in themselves. 

PT Usha

Often called the 'Queen of Indian track and field' and India's 'Golden Girl', PT Usha has been associated with Indian athletics for many decades now. Although she has taken retirement, her name remains iconic . The Arjuna Award and Padma Bhushan awardee definitely deserves to be in the wishlist of brands like Adidas and Nike.

Devendra Jhajharia

When in 2017, Devendra Jhajharia became the first Paralympian to have been nominated for Rajiv Gandhi Kehl Ratna award- India’s highest sporting honor, he was overwhelmed and at the same time felt that if the honor could have bestowed upon him 12 years back when he clinched the gold with a world record at the Athens Games in 2004, he would have felt more motivated. The two time Paralympics gold metallists surely have an untold story waiting for a creative touch. Brands, you must listen to it!

Also Read: 5 bullish Sports and Entertainment Trends for 2019 – ESP Properties

Sunil Chetri

While it is given that Football in India gained prominence and a loyal fan base owing to the worldwide popularity of Ronaldo and Messi. In June 2018, Chhetri's one video urging Indians to support the Indian football team at the international championship went viral and won millions of hearts. Just when he also scored twice in a 2-0 victory over Kenya in 2018 Intercontinental Cup and became the ‘second joint top international goal scorer’ equalizing Argentinian  Lionel Messi‘s tally of 64 international goals just second to Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo‘s 81 international goals.

Soon after, Chhetri was named brand ambassador of online fantasy sports platform StarPick. But the star is yet to sign deals worth of.

K Srikanth

After winning several national international badminton channels, ace shuttler K Srikanth was signed by Chinese sports brand, Li-Ning for a 4 years multi-crore deal. Bank of Baroda and Yonex have also bought Srikanth on board. However, the brands need to leverage him and his expertise to the core.

Vinesh Phogat

Even after Cornerstone Sport, a sports management and talent representation agency who also handles Virat Kohli announced the signing of Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat to manage her brand endorsements deals, the star woman is yet to grab eyeballs through endorsements. Phogat became the first Indian woman wrestler to win gold at Asian Games last year.

Deepa Malik

Deepa Malik achieved the feat when clinched the silver medal in the shotput F-53 at Rio Olympics 2016 becoming the first Indian woman to win a medal at the Paralympics. Post which, Mountain Dew signed her for ‘Risk Takers of India’ campaign where Mallik also became the first Para Athlete to endorse a soft drink brand.

In an interview to Malik was quoted saying the only difference post my wins that I am getting more offers to speak but sadly no brand approached me to endorse their product.  Do I not have the determination or the strength to do something for the country? I also have a pretty face, I also use beauty products like others so why I can’t endorse them?

Nisar Ahmed

Touted to be India’s most promising young athlete, 16-year-old Nisar Ahmed missed the world record in the 100 m sprint by 0.2 seconds. However, the loss did not hold him back.  He has now been selected among the 14 athletes to undergo training by Usain Bolt’s coach in Jamaica.

Now when brands are more inclined towards targeting youth and Gen z of the nation, Ahmed’s determination, dedication, and hard work can be a true fit to a marketer’s vision.

Top Sports and Entertainment Trends for 2019 by ESP properties revealed that brands which can use athlete and their storytelling power will garner massive interest from fans and advertisers owing to mass media exposure via TV and one-to-one engagement through social communities, rediscovering their true value.

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