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Yuvraj Singh's endorsement value might slip post-retirement from international cricket

He announced the news of his retirement from all forms of international cricket on 10 June

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MUMBAI: After a glittering career of 25 years, ace cricketer Yuvraj Singh announced his retirement from international cricket on 10 June. The stylish southpaw has been one of the most promising performers on-field and has had an equally challenging off-field journey as well given his fight with cancer.

In his heydays, Yuvraj Singh was also one of the richest Indian cricket players and has endorsed a number of popular brands like Honda, Nippo Batteries, Puma, LG, Revital, Whirlpool, Oppo, and Birla Sun Life Insurance, among others.

However, for the past few years, the cricketer and founder of YouWeCan foundation, Yuvraj Singh has not been very active on the field as well as the endorsement domain. His limited time on field might have led to a loss in the charm of the cricketer for big brands but it cannot be denied that he still resonates with the cricket-loving nation and is a fairly popular and recognised face. He has a strong following of 4.64 million on Twitter and 6.7 million on Instagram.

But these numbers might not be enough to sustain him in the endorsement market and his evaluation is expected to dwindle further with his retirement.

International brand expert and Brands of Desire CEO Saurabh Uboweja feels that there may be a temporary rise in his popularity and thus, endorsements, owing to the attention his retirement has brought. “But it is unlikely that he will experience the same level that he did when he peaked in 2011,” he says.

TRA Research CEO N Chandramouli notes, “Sporting icons have limited longevity. They, unfortunately, have a limited shelf-life, which is active till their playing days are active. And it will be no different for Yuvi. In the cut-throat endorsement market, it is so difficult to survive.”

Brand expert and founder of Harish Bijoor Consults Inc, Harish Bijoor shares the same sentiments as he adds, “A present star of cricket packs more value in terms of endorsement money than a past one. Public memory is fickle and unless you see your star in action, you have a tendency to forget. That is the fate of every cricketer who hangs up the bat, never mind whether you are a Kapil Dev or a Sachin Tendulkar. Yuvi joins their ranks.”

Brand-nomics managing director Viren Razdan feels that Yuvraj can no longer live up to the image of the young and restless rouge and this will dip his brand value impacting his saleability. 

He says, "Sports person brands have to be curated with care - their skills and background form ingredients of their brand story. Their attitude adds the dash. Retirement brings the gear to a striking halt gliding at neutral - till they are able to ‘ reinvent’ as a brand. This move will definitely take him off the must-have-list of brands, till he is able to create that new story again."

However, according to Uboweja, Yuvraj’s market value can have a revamp based on what step he takes in his career next.

Elaborating on the same, independent communications consultant Karthik Srinivasan says, “Like many other cricketers, he could look at extending the fame and visibility through other incidental routes - like commentating, writing on cricket among others.”

One being asked whether a web-series or movie on the life of this cricketing genius will be on cards, considering one aspect of his career is officially over, giving him a new lease of popularity and relatability within new-age viewers, the industry experts shared that he does have a good story that can attract the producers’ money but might not be very viable in increasing his popularity or reach.

Sharing his views and Chandramouli mentions that currently, biopics are usually not successful commercially unless the lead has a larger than life character, which in this case is not. This will make any celluloid venture risky.

Contradicting the point, Srinivasan notes, “Yuvraj's storyline goes beyond cricket, given his diagnosis of cancer, the fight-back and his successful comeback. That parallel narrative adds a very strong extra dimension to his name and fame. Like how Birla Sun Life Insurance used that narrative when he was endorsing the brand, other brands could include his fight against cancer as an inspirational narrative in their communication appropriately. I wouldn't be surprised if this sequence, along with his prior-to-cancer glory and his subsequent comeback is made into either a feature film or a web series.”

Uboweja adds that it is any producer’s dream to work on a story like Yuvraj’s but such biographies are temporary hikes in market values and can’t be sustained for long.

Despite the uncertainty in the endorsement circle post his retirement, Yuvraj Singh and his cricketing legacy are going to live for ages.

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