On a day when Saina Nehwal was back at the top of world badminton ranking, the star shuttle signed up a new 25 crore deal with a sports marketing firm to manage her profile.
The 25-year-old currently earns around seven crores a year from around 10 endorsement deals. She has contracted with Herbalife, Star Sports, Godrej No Marks, Emami, Sahara India.
With this deal, Saina will be the highest paid women athlete in India. Tennis star Saina Mirza earns around 5 crores while boxer Mar Kom draws around 6 crores a year from endorsements and appearances.
The shuttler replaced Carolina Marin to regain the No. 1 position in the women’s category of the Badminton World Federation ranking released on Thursday. Although Saina lost the final of World Championship in Jakarta.
Neerav Tomar, managing director and chief executive of IOS Sports, said his firm has been working with Nehwal for the past few years but only on one-off deals. “Now we have signed up to work exclusively with her. She is the world No. 1 now and she needs a bit of management and backing now,” Tomar said.
This hefty deal also made Saina the best non-cricket star athlete to sign this deal. IOS recently signed a deal with Suresh Raina, who ended his association with Rhiti Sports Managment owned by a friend of India ODI captain MS Dhoni.
The company also manages boxer Mary Com, pugilist Yogeshwar Dutt, boxer Vijender Singh, pugilist Sushil Kumar, shooter Gagan Narang, shooter Heena Sidhu, archer Deepika Kumari.