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Gold Rush Behind 'Brand' Neeraj Chopra After Historic Olympic Gold


<p><strong>Mumbai:</strong> Neeraj Chopra, 23, made history on August 7 by winning India’s first gold medal in athletics with a throw of 87.58 meters in the men’s javelin at the Tokyo Olympics, is set to see over a three-fold jump in his brand value and endorsement revenues, according to the advertisement, marketing, and branding experts. Brand strategist Harish Bijoor believes that Neeraj is not a new face as he already has three to four endorsements, but he will be a good replacement for the Indian brands.</p>
<p>"There is goldrush behind him at this point of time for the potential that he promises. I can foresee a tremendous brand value for Neeraj as he can now command a premium of 3X from X. Brands across segments, be it a bank, oil, biscuits, or shoes that can endorse him. Brand Neeraj provides a complete package be it age, look, rigor, etc." Harish Bijoor, a Brand-thinker, practitioner, and promoter of Harish Bijoor Consults Inc. told ABP News.</p>
<p>However, ad-guru Piyush Pandey has a different take.</p>
<p>Piyush Pandey, Chief Creative Officer Worldwide and Executive Chairman India, Ogilvy told ABP News, "Sponsorships should not judge brands like Neeraj, and this is the biggest mistake we make. We have to understand what he has done for the athlete or javelin as a sport. Neeraj ne tu jhanda ghad diya hai..(Neeraj has proven himself) and sponsorships will come any which ways. The challenge is not brand Neeraj, but the challenge is brand sports, brand athlete.</p>
<p>The onus now lies on the organizations responsible for promoting such sports as Cricket has organized itself without government support.</p>
<p>On the need to encourage other Indian sports like Cricket, Mr.Pandey said, "Currently, there is a need to promote sports locally. We started having Indian hockey league, soccer league, kabaddi league. Unless you make sports popular at the grassroots level, the sportsmen will not get recognization quickly. Tata’s have been doing this for a long. Now, JSW is doing. JSW is committed to sports, and it is a reminder to other organizations. The future will depend on how organizations like Tata sports academy or JSW sports academy provide more facilities to train these athletes."</p>
<p>Chopra, who charges a yearly fee of 20-30 lakh per deal, may see a three-fold increase in brand endorsement fees, which might exceed Rs 1 crore, justifying his success. The floodgates have finally been thrown open. Within a day after his Olympic success, Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra vowed to award the javelin thrower an SUV; edtech giant Byju’s announced a cash reward of Rs 2 lakh, and IndiGo offered him a year of free air travel.</p>
<p>One of India’s best-known social commentators and advertising and marketing professionals, Santosh Desai, sees much potential in brand Neeraj, especially after the Olympic Gold.</p>
<p>"There is a spike in interest in the athlete. Neeraj has excellent potential, given he has a humble background. He is from Army, and age is on his side. He is just 23, so he has got longevity. Like Dhoni, so many stories are coming from the small town. There is no question that his brand value has gone up substantially. Neeraj will inspire many young kids to take up javelin. Even if the base is small, it will make an impact," said Santosh Desai, MD &amp; CEO, Futurebrands.</p>
<p>According to brand analysts, Chopra has joined the elite club of Indian athletes whose brand values can bring in dozens of endorsements. They go on to say that the man with the golden arm may even outperform some, if not all, of India’s top cricketers, who are considered demigods who tower over athletes from other sports.</p>
<p>According to Parth Jindal, director of JSW Sports, chairman of IPL cricket team Delhi Capitals, Neeraj is one of the brightest athletes India has ever produced.</p>
<p>"I am thrilled that the spark we saw in him almost five years ago is now being recognized by our entire country &amp; the world. When conceptualizing the Inspire Institute of Sport, our aim was to have the National Anthem play at the Olympics. We are sure that Neeraj’s success will spur on even more athletes to take up sports and help realize India’s dream of becoming a sporting superpower."</p>
<p>Jindal, managing director of JSW Cement and JSW Paints, believes that Neeraj’s on-field performance, coupled with his off-field persona, will make him a very popular brand in India and across the world.</p>
<p>"At JSW Sports, we have always invested in these talented Olympic athletes because we believe that their stories need to be told. For Neeraj, we are confident that his on-field performance, coupled with his off-field persona will make him a very popular brand in India and across the world. We are committed to working with him to help him realize his true potential commercially as well as an athlete," said Jindal.</p>
<p>Even before the Olympics, Neeraj and Bajrang Punia were both established athletes, having won Commonwealth and Asian Gold medals.</p>
<p>"Both are extremely humble and have great personalities that make them an advertiser’s dream. They are already sponsored by a number of brands, and since last night, our team’s phones have not stopped ringing," said sports enthusiast Jindal.</p>
<p>"While cricket has been India’s No. 1 sport, I believe that as a country of 1.4 billion, we have much more space for new sports stars to emerge. If this initial interest from brands is anything to go by, I think India has found its next big superstars in Neeraj and Bajrang," Mr. Jindal added.</p>
<p>Chopra is the first Indian to win an Olympic medal in a track-and-field event. After Abhinav Bindra won a gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he is the second Indian to earn an Olympic gold medal in the individual category.</p>
<p>"In a country that breathes Cricket and worships a Dhoni or Kohli, here comes one more story of struggle, a talent rising from the hinterland, from a humble background and making it big at an international platform and inspiring the whole country," said Tina Jain Mehta, CEO &amp; Founder, Pineapple Consulting.&nbsp;</p>


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