New Delhi : Kellogg, the world’s largest breakfast cereal maker, has signed badminton player Saina Nehwal to an endorsement deal pegged at close to Rs 1.5 crore.
The two-year deal makes Nehwal, the world No. 2 in women’s singles, the highest paid female sports endorser in the country ahead of tennis player Sania Mirza and boxer Mary Kom.
A Kellogg India spokesperson confirmed the association with Nehwal but declined to give details of of the deal. Darshan Machdar, director at Spoment Ventures, the sports marketing firm that represents Nehwal, was unavailable for comment.
“Kellogg is looking for a repositioning exercise with Saina… the advertising is likely to break next month,” one of the persons quoted earlier said.
The 25-year-old already has endorsement deals for Yonex, Bajaj Nomarks cream, Iodex pain reliever, Indian Overseas Bank and the Sahara group, which, sources said, were signed for least 20% less.
Vinit Karnik, national director, sports and live events at GroupM ESP, the sports marketing division of media buying group GroupM, said, “In the current scenario, Saina Nehwal is the highest paid woman sportsperson in the country. Sania Mirza’s endorsement fee used to be the highest till about five years back. But Saina has been far more visible on the circuit, which is what brands look for.”
Nehwal had topped the women’s world ranking list in March this year. Some talent managers, however, believe that Nehwal has remained under-marketed when it comes to endorsement fee. Also, the gap between what male and female sports persons earn outside of the sports arena remains wide.
According to industry executives, cricket captain MS Dhoni charges upwards of Rs 10 crore for brand endorsement while Virat Kohli’s fee is Rs 5-6 crore. However, endorsement rates can vary as they depend, to a large extent, on the relationship the celebrity has with the brand.
Talent management firm Kwan’s promoter Anirban Das said, “It’s a reflection of the popularity of the sport rather than a function of gender.
The reach of cricket still hugely overshadows any other sport in India.” He pointed out that in Bollywood, the gap between what men and women earn has seen a lot of correction over the recent past. “Someone like Deepika Padukone earns a lot more than many other popular actors now,” he said.