Cash rewards are pouring in from everywhere for India's new shooting champion Abhinav Bindra, who struck gold for the country at the Beijing Olympics. From individual business tycoons such as Laxmi Niwas Mittal, Chairman, Arcelor Mittal, announcing a reward of Rs 1.5 crore, to his sponsor Samsung India already having announced a reward of Rs 20 lakh, Mammon is showering his choicest blessings on this 25-year-old. “Abhinav Bindra has brought a lot of pride to the country. Our association with him goes back to the 2004 Olympics, when we thought he held promise. But certainly, now that he has won, we think that many other brands will be interested in him,” says R. Zutshi, Deputy MD, Samsung India.Already, there’s widespread speculation about how the Olympic gold will impact his potential and value as a brand ambassador. “We don’t have too many heroes in the country. So, the hype over his achievement will work for him. Over the long term, though, he has to perform consistently to remain in the limelight. The onus of taking his image forward now rests entirely on him,” says Rohit Ohri, Managing Partner, JWT.
For now, though, estimates of this brand value have gone through the roof. “Over the short term, he should easily get three to five deals at Rs 1.5-2 crore per endorsement. But the halo effect of his Olympic victory will not last beyond two years. I see a company like Hero Honda getting interested as it typically associates itself with champions. But the challenge for Bindra will be to stay relevant beyond that. How he shapes up as a personality will determine his longterm future on the endorsement circuit,” says Anirban Das Blah, CEO, Globosport.