Dhoni way ahead of Kohli in commercial air time

Sankha Ghosh / 14 July 2016
Dhoni and Kohli to play celebrity football match this Saturday

With the captain of the Indian test cricket team Virat Kohli increasingly becoming more expensive and a bit choosy, limited overs skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni yet again snatches  the title of frequently-seen sports star on television.

According to the latest data provided by AdEx India, a division of Television Audience Measurement (TAM) Media Research, Dhoni is number 1 on the list of top 10 sports stars with the maximum commercial airtime captured in the first half of 2016, which eventually surpasses Kohli’s one.

In 2015, Kohli overtook Dhoni. Maximum commercial airtime is generally calculated on the basis of ad volumes in seconds.

In another list, which involves the advertisement share of Bollywood and television actors along with sports personalities, Kohli’s share of ad volume on TV has come down from the third rank (last year) to a shocking 19th this year. Bollywood actress Kareena Kapoor Khan topped the list followed by Shah Rukh Khan. Dhoni meanwhile remained stable in the sixth position.

Kohli’s high-brand endorsement fee could have been the reason for advertisers choosing Dhoni over him, experts claim.

“The current fee for signing Virat is Rs 3 crore per day, whereas Dhoni charges half of Kohli, which is about Rs 1.5 crore. This makes Dhoni more attractive and an accessible option for brands,” said an ad-maker who has worked with both the players for a commercial.

At present, Kohli is captaining India in Test cricket, while Dhoni has retired from that format. Experts believe Dhoni’s retirement has subsequently impacted his endorsement fees, however, he still leads India in the short-format games.

Arun Pandey, Dhoni’s manager and chairperson of Rhiti Sports Management, which manages his brand endorsements and communication, said: “Dhoni’s new brand engagements are doing very well, and he has just signed five new brands. He now endorses 20 brands, which is a huge portfolio.”

On the other hand, Kohli has rejected several brand endorsement offers recently.

Bunty Sajdeh, ‎CEO of Cornerstone Sport & Entertainment, which manages Kohli’s brand engagements said: “I have turned down almost 16 brand engagement offers in the last 24 months. Our idea is not to over-expose him.”

“Moreover, Mahi (MS Dhoni) today endorses twice the brands than what Virat endorses… It could be because of difference in choices of doing business,” Sajdeh added.

Also, brand Dhoni is expecting a huge boost after the release of his biopic, ‘MS Dhoni: The Untold Story’. The biopic is scheduled to release this year.

“After the release of the biopic, his brand endorsements will go on a different level,” Pandey said considering Dhoni’s recent brand associations with Lava Mobiles and Exide Life Insurance.