Today, if Kohli is counted on par with Jamaican track legend Usain Bolt and his compatriot Asafa Powell, French football stars Thierry Henry, the former Arsenal and Barcelona great, and Olivier Giroud
Virat Kohli made headlines after he pulled off one the biggest endorsement deal by an Indian sports personality with a single brand. With a Rs 110-crore endorsement deal with global sports goods manufacturing giant Puma, Kohli today has cemented his place in the big league as a global brand ambassador.
His deal will ensure that Kohli gets at least Rs 12 crore per annum. Today, if Kohli is counted on par with Jamaican track legend Usain Bolt and his compatriot Asafa Powell, French football stars Thierry Henry, the former Arsenal and Barcelona great, and Olivier Giroud, the current Arsenal striker - he has only one person to thank and that is - Bunty Sajdeh.
Sajdeh is the owner of talent management company, Cornerstone Sport & Entertainment. Cornerstone founded in 2008 exclusively manages sportsperson. In a 2016 interview to Live Mint, Sajdeh revealed that he had spotted Virat back in 2008.
“It’s easy to look at Virat today and say he’s a rock star, but I spotted him back during the 2008 Under-19 World Cup and signed him up before he became a regular for India,” Sajdeh told Live Mint.
“When I first saw Virat, during an Under-19 match in Malaysia, he didn’t actually get that many runs.
"But what struck me was the way he spoke confidently to everyone around him and took charge of situations. You have to have that bit of personality we can work on. You can’t be a complete introvert,” he had said.
Since then there has been no looking back for the two. With the Puma deal, Kohli has now become the first Indian sportsman to win such a lucrative deal.
As part of the deal, Kohli similar to basketball player Michael Jordan, Nadal and Messi; he too will launch signature products bearing the batsman's name.
"Virat is a big brand name because he excels on-field… he also has a great persona off-field, being outspoken, wearing fashionable clothes (only earthy colours), wears his heart on the sleeve… That's how good athletes become great brands," Sajdeh told Economic Times.