Dubai: The brand value of Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is set to soar further with him climbing up 15 places from last year in the latest Forbes list of highest-paid athletes. Captain Cool, as he is referred to, is now 16th on the list — ahead of globally famous athletes such as Novak Djokovic, Usain Bolt and even Lewis Hamilton.
According to the recent Forbes list, Dhoni has earned a staggering $31.5 million (Dh114.3m) in the period between June 2012 and June 2013, which pushes him out of the orbit among the cricketers who are popular on the endorsement sector. Incidentally, Sachin Tendulkar is the only other Indian sportsman who features in the list with a ranking of 31st and total annual earning of $22 million.
Speaking to Gulf News exclusively from India, Dhoni’s brand managers say that their next challenge now lies in taking his appeal beyond cricket.
“Our next goal is now to take it to the next level and make him a global brand. He is already promoting the hugely popular English Premier League in Hindi language and one can expect more of such surprises in the next few months,” said Arun Pandey, Managing Director of Rhiti Sports.
The calculation of each sportsperson is based upon the earning estimates which includes salaries, bonuses and prize money from both club and national teams, as well as endorsement income — and no prizes for guessing that the Indian captain has scored the most in the last segment with 23 brands under his belt. Ever since a hamstring injury forced him to pull out of the West Indies tour in end-June, Dhoni decided to take a well-deserved break but is now busy honouring some of his commercial commitments.
“Dhoni has reached such a stage that he does not have to prove anything to anybody. Hence, we are now exercising a lot of discretion before saying yes to any new sponsor,” Pandey said.
Strange as it may sound, the dashing wicketkeeper-batsman finds himself ahead of F1 racer Fernando Alonso (ranked 19th), Hamilton (26th), Djokovic (28th), Rafael Nadal (30th) spot and Bolt (40th) on the list.
The Forbes list is topped by golfer Tiger Woods, who made $78.1 million last year, followed by Roger Federer who earned $71.5 million and NBA star Kobe Bryant, whose earnings stood at $61.9 million.