With his brand equity at the peak after leading India to World Cup victory, Mahendra Singh Dhoni is stepping up to a new level in the endorsement market, where instead of signing plain deals for a certain fee he will look at revenue sharing or be a partner in the brands he promotes.
Dhoni, who has been named as more influential than US President Barack Obama by the Time magazine, is likely to execute the new concept in two deals that he is expected to sign in the next one month.
"Brand Dhoni has reached a new high altogether after the World Cup. Now we do not intend to sign regular endorsement deals with companies (for him). Its time now to explore larger agreements, which will include partnership with brands and a bigger stake," Rhiti Sports Management Promoter Arun Pandey said.
Without giving details of what is on the drawing table, Pandey said there could be deals like profit-sharing or having stake in brands that he will endorse going ahead.
"The phone has not stopped ringing. We are getting inquiries from so many big corporate houses. In the next one month, two new big brand endorsement deals will be announced and they will have the 'new' component ," Pandey said without divulging details.
He said even the endorsement fee that the Indian captain will charge going ahead is set to see a new high, but did not divulge the numbers.
Dhoni is currently the face of around 25 brands and charges over Rs 6 crore per endorsement, according to industry estimates. The pack of brands endorsed by the Indian cricket captain includes Reebok, Aircel, Godrej and TVS Motor.
According to an industry expert dealing with another high profile Indian cricketer, in India partnership deals have not picked up yet.
"Internationally, there is a trend to sign deals involving revenue share in case of high profile sportsmen, but that is not yet the case in India. It could work well in case of Dhoni," the person said.
Recently, Kolkata-based consumer goods firm Emami had appointed Dhoni as the brand ambassador for its digestive tonic - Zandu Pancharishta.
Riding on his popularity, the cricketer was also signed up by Sony, Maxx Mobile and the UB Group before the World Cup. Post India's world cup win title in 28 years, Dhoni found himself ranked above global football icon Lionel Messi and US President Barack Obama in the 'Time' magazine's list of 100 most influential people in the world for the year 2010.
Dhoni was ranked 52nd in the chart, way above Messi who was just below Obama at the 87th spot in a list topped by Wael Ghonim, the Google executive who became the "Spokesman for a Revolution" in Egypt.