Endorsement in Sports

If Tiger Woods is sporting a Nike club, Mahendra Singh Dhoni munching lays and Mathew Hayden slurping Cloud 9.What is the first question that would come to your mind?..Why can’t I be sipping Cloud 9 or swinging those Nike golf clubs???Isn’t it??This is exactly what endorsements do. They get right inside our head. Endorsements play such an influential role in our lives that it is indeed mind-boggling to have developed the liking for the product which is endorsed with a celebrity. The effect of endorsement is such that it changes the want of the consumer into a need. Endorsement is a written or spoken statement approving of some product, typically a contract to promote a product by a celebrity.

The motive behind branding is to amalgamate diverse activities to win customer preference. The crescendo of celebrities endorsing brands has been steadily increasing over the past years. Marketers overtly acknowledge the power of celebrities in influencing consumer-purchasing decisions. It is a ubiquitously accepted fact that celebrity endorsement can bestow special attributes upon a product that it may have lacked otherwise.

The sporting industry has developed into what is perhaps the biggest global phenomenon in recent history. With that came the establishment of many popular teams with huge fan bases willing to dole out hordes of money in order to just see their favourite team play and possibly get some souvenir with which to remember the game. Many other individuals flock to the stores to purchase gear worn by their favourite player upon noticing their endorsements on television. More and more sports personalities are appearing in commercials supporting some product or brand these days and influencing what sports fans purchase.

Many hockey players and football stars offer up their services to endorse products also. Everything from automobiles to soft drinks to batteries has been marketed through a sports personality. This type of gimmick works quite well for advertising as well, acknowledging that many sports fans will attribute these products with success and greatness upon noticing their favourite player backing these items and as such, these fans set out to purchase these products.

“A sign of a celebrity is that his name is often worth more than his services.”
– Daniel J Boorstin

Celebrity endorsements have become an omnipresent feature in today’s marketing world. Celebrity endorsements have several benefits, like building credibility and getting attention of the public, which can translate into higher sales. Basically, celebrity endorsements are being preferred for almost every kind of product categories, like toiletries, telecom, readymade garments, razor blades, hotels, soft drinks and hard drinks among others. The most of the big companies have developed a new strategy to enrol celebrities and make them brand ambassadors of their products to increase the product sale. For instance, the famous sports star Sachin Tendulkar endorses everything from tyres, Palio car to Pepsi, Visa, Adidas, stock trading portals and music systems.

Statistics reveal that endorsements have helped sportspersons to keep up their heavy bank balances. They become the new face of the product. But it is nowadays often seen that these sportspersons are not focussed on their game but instead busy doing endorsements. This negligence towards the game results in the deterioration of their skills as more time is spent off the field. The apathy of players for the nation along with the injuries precludes the chances of winning matches. Indian cricketers have such a fetish for endorsements that they are not discerning while accepting advertisements. Can you ever imagine Tiger Woods endorsing biscuits or Michael Jordan selling tyres? But Sachin does all this and with aplomb. As a consequence, it degrades the image of the celebrity. But it is very surprising how Sachin has managed to keep his awesome presence off the field.

As said earlier Indians players are so hell bent on endorsing several commodities that they cannot dedicate enough time to their sport. One instance of this is during the recently concluded twenty-20 world cup tournament. The players after the ipl-2 were so famished that they did not think practicing as a team to be important enough and instead considered taking a good break which eventually led to their demise. But this downfall however ignited them to perform against the Indies. And they did it brilliantly, winning the series in the Caribbean after seven years.

But the big question which prevails is that why do we perform after setbacks. Why can’t we remain consistent as a team? On the other hand Saina Nehwal the upcoming badminton player is winning tournaments after tournaments. She is trying to reach the pinnacle while keeping her away from all the glitz and glamour. She is just focussing on her game and wants to break in the top five which to her is still a distant dream. She is arduous and determined and she doesn’t want to end up being a great badminton player. Instead she aims to be the greatest!

Keeping this grave cause of concern in mind BCCI have come out with a notice to every Indian player that he cannot endorse in not more than three products in a year. This proved to be a prolific measure as it binds the players.

Anuradha Agarwal

[Image courtesy: http://image.automobilemag.com/f/miscellaneous/tiger-woods-ends-endorsement-deal-with-buick/11833172+w750+st0/tiger-woods-with-the-buick-bengal-concept-car.jpg]