When one talks about the highest-paid athletes in the world, cricketers rarely make it to the list of 100 elite athletes. However, India captain Virat Kohli has managed to figure in the Forbes list, which includes the likes Cristiano Ronaldo, who tops the chart, LeBron James, Roger Federer and Serena Williams among others.
Besides being the only cricketer in the Forbes list, Kohli is the only athlete from India to be featured. It is players from the USA, who have dominated the list with as many as 63 from the country, comprising basketball, baseball and American football players. The list comprises sportspersons from 21 countries, scattered around 11 different sports.
Cricketers, unlike football and basketball players, don't earn much from their salary alone.
Kohli, according to the Forbes list, has a pay of USD 22 million of which only USD 3 million is his salary and his winnings. The major chunk of USD 19 million of his earnings comes from endorsements. He is also one of the highest paid players in the Indian Premier League.
Is anyone surprised with Kohli making such fortunes from endorsements?
In India, it is cricket which rules the roost and cricketers are the most sought after sportsmen by big brands who will be ready to splash big money to make them endorse their products. In the early 2000s, it was Sachin Tendulkar, who used to earn good money from endorsements, and MS Dhoni also bagged some mega deals in the last decade.
Now it is Kohli who has become the face of India cricket. The 28-year-old player is often seen on TV advertisements during breaks.
Kohli is one of the best players in the world, and no wonder, he is in high demand among big corporates. He endorses brands such as TVS, Puma, Audi, Britannia, Lloyd and MRF among others.
Kohli had signed a Rs 100-crore eight-year deal with Puma earlier in 2017. It reflects how companies are willing to shell out even an astronomical figure to bring him onboard.