Neeraj Chopra unleashes a spear that soars into the Tokyo sky, stops himself earlier than the foul line by gripping the turf for a cut up second, and is derived again in a single swift movement. Next, he nonchalantly turns his again on the javelin — nonetheless in its flight path — and holds his arms aloft.
In a matter of seconds on August 7, the 23-year-old not solely sealed an astonishing win to finish a rustic’s century-old drought in monitor and area on the Olympics however he additionally introduced — with energy, poise, panache and a photogenic face — the arrival of India’s model new sporting celebrity.
The floodgates are actually open. Within a day of his Olympics feat, Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra promised to present an SUV to the javelin thrower; edtech main Byju’s declared a money reward of Rs 2 crore; and IndiGo supplied him free air journey for a yr.
According to model specialists, Chopra has vaulted himself into the elite membership of Indian athletes whose model values can rake in endorsements by the handfuls. They add that the person with the golden arm might even surpass some, if not all, high cricketers — the demigods who stand nicely above athletes from different disciplines in India.
Chopra has been model ambassador for British electronics agency Amstrad, amongst others. But, post-Tokyo, his model worth will shoot by the roof, says picture guru Dilip Cherian. “People with track and field gold are rare. So the choice set of the number of people available for this branding market is very small,” he provides.
In Chopra’s case, the truth that he serves within the Indian Army (as a junior commissioned officer) provides to his being an exception and works to his benefit within the prevailing environment of hypernationalism.
“In the Indian market, the number of players who have the combination of an army background, Olympics, understanding of corporate etc is very small,” says Cherian. He reckons that Chopra’s model worth might surge as much as 4 occasions that of shooter Abhinav Bindra — in present market phrases whereas compensating for inflation, measurement of financial system et al. Bindra, the one different particular person Olympic gold medallist from India, was stated to be charging an endorsement price of round Rs 1 crore after his 2008 win.
His sport (monitor and area), the elevation of particular person efficiency over that of a workforce, and the truth that he’s a “good-looking young professional” work in Chopra’s favour, say picture consultants. Some even go to the extent of claiming that he would go forward of most cricketers.
His humble background — born to a farming household in Panipat, Haryana — will permit a variety of manufacturers to fortunately affiliate with him, whereas on the similar time he embodies ability and specialisation that advertisers searching for such values might faucet into.
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who had received a silver on the 2004 Athens Games, had change into the primary serving military officer to endorse manufacturers.
More than the color of the steel on the medal, although, it’s the character of the game that separates Chopra from the remaining, says Samit Sinha, founder and managing director, Alchemist Brand Consulting. “One can’t take away from the fact that it’s an Olympic gold medal and India’s first ever in track and field. But wrestling and weightlifting don’t have the same kind of glamour associated in people’s minds as track and field events.”
In the “glamour hierarchy” in Indian sports activities, Sinha places cricket on the high of the heap, adopted from a protracted distance by tennis and badminton, which has come up, because of the exploits of Saina Nehwal and P V Sindhu. In the remainder of the sports activities, even when athletes carry out moderately nicely, they don’t get related worth and recognition, he provides.
Sinha’s wager is on the javelin star getting an analogous market worth as Sindhu, who just lately turned the primary lady and solely the second Indian to win a person medal twice on the Olympics. The shuttler’s model worth was value $12 million on the finish of 2020, in line with estimates by Duff & Phelps, which has printed movie star model valuation studies for the final six years in India.
Among the manufacturers linked to Chopra within the current previous are Country Delight Naturals, Gillette India, Mobil India and IQOO, the monetary consultancy tells
Although cricket stays the dominant sport, with solely cricketers making to the highest 20 checklist of celebrities by model worth, the ecosystem is altering, he says.
“In the last few years, we have professional leagues for other sports like kabaddi, football and badminton, with reasonable levels of brands and advertising campaigns,” he says, including, “Almost 90 per cent of the expenditure and fan following happens in cricket. But with the success at the Tokyo Olympics, definitely these stars – and particularly Neeraj Chopra – will get attention and endorsement in the near future.”