New Delhi: The heart-break loss against Australia in World Cup semi-finals is not going to affect the Mahendra Singh Dhoni (MSD) brand, said sports marketers and media planners.
After a sheer batting collapse, Dhoni was the lone man fighting to take India through but he could not succeed. However, according to Economic Times, experts say that his brand image as a fighter will remain intact.
The Indian captain announced his retirement from Test cricket a few months back, after which many speculated that his endorsements would dwindle which didn't happened. He is by far the most expensive cricketer in India, charging Rs 12-14 crore per brand endorsement.
Also, speculation that he might announce his retirement from one-day internationals after the World Cup was put to rest by Dhoni, 33, in a post-match chat after India's loss at Sydney. He would think about playing in the 2019 World Cup after next year's T20 World Cup, he said.
Dhoni is still the captain in ODI and T20I cricket as well as of the Chennai Super Kings franchise of Indian Premier League. His brand value will remain strong while his brand endorsement rate will not soften, said Melroy D'Souza, chief operating officer of Professional Management Group.
"I would say the Indian team has exceeded (expectations) in their performance. Most experts had predicted that India would get knocked out before the quarter finals," he said. "The team had seven consecutive wins. And I would believe that after this Dhoni has emerged as a better leader."
Dhoni endorses more than a dozen brands, including PepsiCo (cola and snacks), footwear firm Reebok, telecom services provider Aircel, fan maker Orient, two-wheeler manufacturer TVS, nutritional drink Boost, lubricants maker Gulf Oil and suitings firm Siyaram.
Star Group's Fox Star Studios and Inspired Entertainment, promoted by Dhoni's management agency Rhiti Sports, is producing a biopic on him. The co-producers are likely to make as much as Rs 30 crore as brands endorsed by the cricketer are expected to be part of the movie.
"One semifinal loss does not change anything," said Anita Nayyar, chief executive officer for India and South Asia at media buying group Havas Media. "You can't take it away from him--he resonates as a brand with audiences."
“If India had won the cup, Dhoni's rates would certainly have gone up further”, she said.