As Chinese sports gear emblem Li-Ning signs a report-breaking deal with PV Sindhu, we take a look at the game thru the emblem lens.

Cinema and Cricket are the last champions of the logo endorsement sport in India. Marketers by no means run out of money with regards to the stars of the ‘C’ universe. The 2016 Olympic Games modified the dynamics a little bit, and now, among the shadows of two colossal ‘Cs,’ a ‘B’ has started to twinkle

‘B’ stands for Badminton. And Pusarla Venkata (PV) Sindhu – the 23-12 months-antique shuttler from Andhra Pradesh and Kidambi Srikanth became the torchbearers as sponsorship offers and brand endorsements touched new highs in a recreation that become as understated as its gamers.

It isn’t as though Indian badminton had not carried out properly at all within the beyond. Dizzy heights had been executed by using players within the past – Prakash Padukone changed into world No one lower back in 1980 in addition to the first Indian to win the All-England Championships; Pullela Gopichand followed they match 21 years later to grow to be simplest the second Indian to capture the All-England Title. But it did not do anything to excite brands to head after badminton with fats cheques till about 3 or four years in the past.

Sindhu’s road to glory and riches is the stuff of legend. In 2016 at the Rio Olympics, she smashed her manner thru to the finals and gained India a Silver medal. That win spread out vistas unheard of in the case of Indian Badminton. First off the blocks became Baseline Ventures, a sports management corporation. It snapped up Sindhu for a 3-yr deal to manage the participant’s branding profile, licensing and endorsements. The brands just saved flocking to Sindhu after that, often breaking new floor – last 12 months, as an instance, she has become Bridgestone India’s (the tire maker) first brand ambassador.

The icing on the cake got here early this month, while Li-Ning roped in Sindhu for an Rs.50 crore, 4-year endorsement deal wherein she will be able to arise to Rs.10 crore a yr (Rs.40 crore as sponsorship and Rs.10 crore within the shape of the system). The China-funded multinational sports clothing and badminton system brand laid it out in style to wean her away from Japanese competitors Yonex. All this no matter Sindhu slipping one ran to No four in the World Badminton Federation’s ranking.

This isn’t always the first large endorsement deal that Li-Ning has announced. Last month, World No 7 Kidambi Srikanth was roped in for a sum of Rs.35 crore for a length of four years. As part of the deal, Srikanth can make up to Rs.7.Five crores 12 months relying on his performances on the court docket. He may even get badminton equipment worth Rs.5 crore over the following forty-eight months. Li-Ning didn’t stop there. It has also roped inside the men’s doubles pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy for a deal of Rs.4 crore every for two years. Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap too got a look-in. He is stated to were offered Rs.8 crore for two years.

It is Sindhu’s growing recognition that helped her peg the high fee deal. “But Srikanth’s changed into a bit surprising as he is but to be phrase-of-mouth in India,” says Shailesh Kapoor, founder & CEO, Ormax Media, a media consulting company. He provides, “Among athletes in India Sindhu’s recognition i0s far in advance of even the cricketers – barring Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni. The 2012 Olympic bronze winner, Saina Nehwal too is extensively famous.” So why is money chasing the badminton gamers now?


Li-Ning has its eye set on the Rs.45,000 crore plus sports clothing marketplace in India. More than a badminton equipment producer it wants to establish itself as a sportswear emblem, something it successfully did in China in which it has a turnover of $1.6 billion. “For Li-Ning, India is the second one largest marketplace after China, and within the next six months we are going to come into India massively,” says Mahender Kapoor, director, Sunlight Sports Pte, Li-Ning’s distribution associate in 21 markets across Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Apart from Li-Ning, the Singapore-based Sunlight Sports, is also the unique multinational distributor for McDavid, Shock Doctor, Kason, and DHS (sports gadget and add-ons manufacturers). In India, Li-Ning and Sunlight Sports have a joint task in which the latter seems after the brand’s operations. The JV has also related to Meerut-based – Indo Rubber – to distribute badminton gadget in India. “Soon we can have a comparable JV in Indonesia and Malaysia,” informs Kapoor.

Li-Ning’s India enterprise is well worth around Rs.70 crore at this degree, 90 according to cent of which comes from the sale of badminton device. It’s rival, Yonex currently rakes in near Rs.250 crore, and Taiwan-based Victor is near Rs.15 crore in India. The standard length of the badminton marketplace, as per industry estimates, received’t be greater than Rs.500 crore. According to Mahender Kapoor, Li-Ning has earmarked Rs. Six hundred crore to spend on marketing and communications over the subsequent three years. “Badminton is not our most effective recognition. Li-Ning in China is like Nike around the sector. It is a sport to wear an emblem that still manufactures badminton equipment. In India, our aggressive push at this stage is on Badminton, and shortly we can compete with Nike and Adidas within the sports clothing class too,” says an assured Mahender Kapoor.

In years, Li-Ning desires to set up itself as a sportswear emblem to reckon with and Kapoor’s goal is to acquire a ninety:10 ratio where simplest ten consistent with the scent of the revenue comes from badminton and relaxation from the commercial sportswear enterprise. Reebok, Adidas, Nike, and Puma dominate the marketplace while Skechers is one of the quickest developing brands within the united states. “It is a section where absolutely everyone is trying different things, and no person has, in reality, cracked it. Skechers has achieved very well and might emerge as the market chief soon; we too will follow a similar strategy in India. We plan to provide comfort at an excellent fee,” informs Mahender Kapoor.

The sportswear market has room for more players believes Amit Gugnani, senior vice president, Fashion – Textiles, Apparel and Engineering at Technopark (control consulting company), “The marketplace has visible splendid reinvigoration as far as patron adoption is going, not just at the simple parameters which affect overall retail however additionally whilst looked at from the angle of the sportswear to class, which itself is getting reinvigorated in India. There has been a big growth in people seeking out sportswear, along with footwear, apparel, and associated accessories,” says he, adding, “Traditionally, India has had the Nikes, the Pumas, and the Adidases. There is scope for a new entrant to are available due to the fact the whole wide variety of brands remains very small.”


Sindhu has 14 brands in her kitty, and that is the most with the aid of any non-cricket athlete inside the united states of America. Her yearly income from brand endorsements after the Li-Ning deal is anticipated to be around Rs.50 crore. Virat Kohli, who ranked No 83 in Forbes’ listing of most earning athletes in general makes around Rs.160 crore per year from the 17 manufacturers he has in his kitty. In phrases of in keeping with day prices too, there is a yawning gap among the two No 1s of their respective sports.

If it’s miles a long-time period deal, Virat Kohli, prices around Rs.2.5 crore per day, while Sindhu receives among Rs.1.Five and Rs.1.75 crore consistent with the day. Sindhu’s prices remain identical in long or short deals, however Kohli fees near Rs. Five crores in keeping with a day for shorter contracts. In India, manufacturers look past cricketers simplest when they can’t afford them. But Saina and Sindhu are changing that line of questioning, believes Shailesh Kapoor. He says, “endorsements now are ways more than the advertisements. The amount of press insurance the brand ambassador receives is likewise very vital. Badminton is a sport wherein although Sindhu and Saina lose inside the semis or quarters you won’t get terrible press surrounding them, and that’s what makes them stand out for marketers.”

The ads, press, and hoardings play a vital role in starting a communique on social media, which then drives the natural traffic and generates phrase of mouth. “The translation to social media like posting selfies with the hoarding, posing inside the identical manner, blogs and vlogs being written and others are critical a part of brand endorsements,” explains Shailesh Kapoor.

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