The power of brand Sachin May 4, 2006

Tendulkar signs new marketing deal

Cricinfo staff

Sachin Tendulkar: The face that sells a thousand brands © AFP

He may be older, he may be struggling with injuries, he may not even be batting as well as he once was, but Sachin Tendulkar, the icon, the brand, still sells. This much at least, after signing a new three-year marketing deal reportedly worth in the region of US$40 million, hasn't changed.

Tendulkar signed the deal with Iconix, a newly-formed marketing branch of international advertising giant Saatchi & Saatchi. The deal comes after the expiry of a successful ten-year agreement with WorldTel, run by the late Mark Mascarenhas and a man whom Tendulkar once described as being like an older brother.

"It's great to have a legend like Sachin as the first client of Iconix," said V. Shantakumar, the chief executive officer and managing director of Saatchi's Indian operations. "Sachin is more than just a cricket player. He's a role model for young and old India. He's still the nation's youth icon and he's still considered by cricket pundits as the world's best batsman. The value he commands comes from the respect and love people feel for him." Shantakumar refused to confirm, however, the value of the deal, saying only that "the amount mentioned is a nice sum, but I am not going to say more."

In a statement, Tendulkar said, "I've entrusted Iconix with managing my affairs and have confidence in its ability to provide requisite continuity to the brands I am associated with." And it is a fair number of brands, as despite the emergence of new stars and his own poor form, Tendulkar has endorsed soft drinks, motorcycles, credit cards, mobile phone operators and much more. He is widely-believed to be cricket's top money-earner.

Tendulkar has been bedeviled by injuries and poor form over the last year and following a poor Test series against England and Pakistan (admittedly sandwiching a superb ODI series against the latter), is likely to miss at least the ODI series against West Indies while recovering from shoulder surgery. Additionally, he also sat out the ODI series against England. He has started light batting drills and although he is aiming to make the Test series in the Carribean, a final decision will rest on an assessment of his fitness next week.

In his last 10 Tests, he averages only 28 with one hundred and after a low dismissal at his home ground of Mumbai against England in March, Tendulkar was booed off the field by a section of the crowd. But 132 Tests, 10,469 runs, 35 Test centuries, 362 ODIs, 14,146 runs and 39 ODI hundreds, a 16-year career and only 33 years of age, still hold considerable value, as Iconix have now confirmed.