After super ceding ODI & T20I skipper MS Dhoni as the highest-paid batsman on the endorsement circuit, Test captain Virat Kohli has raced ahead of his teammate on one more front. He's now most trending sportsman in the country across social media, a report in ‘The Times of India’ said.
"Conversation volume in India has always been in the range of 1.5 lakh to 4 lakh. For the first time, we are seeing a jump with the range being between 10 lakh and 12 lakh. Kohli now has a clear lead," Anusha Shetty, chief executive officer at Autumn Worldwide, was quoted as saying by the paper.
Dhoni was ranked 23rd by Forbes' among the world's highest-paid athletes last year, the only cricketer on the list.
Advertisers such as PepsiCo, which have both Kohli and Dhoni as brand ambassadors, have used only Kohli in their summer campaigns till now.
Data from Autumn Worldwide suggest that for the period from January 2015 to March 2016, both Dhoni and Kohli had similar volumes of conversations, even though in some months such as January 2016 when Dhoni-led India team defeated Australia, Dhoni led over Kohli.
Kohli gets around Rs 8 crore for his MRF bat sponsorship while Dhoni makes Rs 6 crore, an official at a talent management firm said.
In terms of long-standing contracts, Dhoni remains higher at close to Rs 8 crore a year compared with Kohli's Rs 5-6 crore, another celebrity management firm representative said.
Brands endorsed by Kohli are German luxury car maker Audi, Adidas, oral care maker Colgate, tyre maker MRF and Swiss watch brand Tissot. His earnings from brand endorsements are likely to be over Rs 100 crore.