Dhoni as a brand will continue to reign even if he retires post IPL


March 29, 2024

Mumbai, 29 March 2024

Sharleen Dsouza, Business Standard

With the IPL kicking off, speculations are rife that the former Indian cricket team captain M S Dhoni will hang up his boots after handing over the captaincy of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to Ruturaj Gaikwad. However, brand experts believe this is not the end of the road for Dhoni as a celebrity, and he still has some mileage left even if he completely retires.

Dhoni is expected to continue being associated with CSK even after retirement, according to a media report. In an Instagram post, CSK said that Dhoni has handed over the captaincy to Gaikwad, who joined the team in 2019.

PTI first reported the story of Dhoni handing over the captaincy and quoted CSK Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kasi Viswanathan as saying, “Whatever Dhoni does, it is in the best interest of the team. I got to know of the decision just before the captains’ meeting. You have to respect his decision; it is his call.”

Brand experts say that his brand value will carry through even after he leaves cricket. “He has done a lot of things, and his brand value will persist even after his retirement. There won’t be a drop in momentum immediately after he retires,” says brand expert Devangshu Dutta, founder of Third Eyesight.

According to Kroll’s Celebrity Brand Valuation Report, in 2022, Dhoni’s brand value stood at $80.3 million and was the sixth-highest-ranked celebrity, while he stood at number 5 in 2021.

Brand experts expect a drop, which is natural, but it certainly won’t be a crash in his valuation as brands would still like to associate with him.

Dhoni is also one of those players who can continue to build brand equity even once he retires completely from the sport, according to experts.

Also, the 42-year-old is one of those sportsmen who announced his retirement in phases. He announced his retirement from international cricket on August 15, 2020, and had earlier retired from Test cricket on December 14, 2014. This move, according to brand experts, has also worked in his favour as it continued to help him build his brand equity, and he did not see a sharp drop overnight.

“I think he still has some mileage left,” said brand expert Santosh Desai. He explained that Dhoni’s connection with people is still strong. However, he did not rule out a drop in his valuation but said it wouldn’t be a huge drop.

N Chandramouli, CEO of brand insights firm TRA Research, also believes that the former Indian cricket team captain has been wise with his investments.

“He will continue to remain relevant, and brands will continue to want him. He won’t be a celebrity who goes from hero to zero overnight if he retires after the IPL,” Chandramouli said.

He also explained that Dhoni is going out at a time when he is still performing and added that the question people will ask him at this stage is why now and not why not.

“Dhoni is one of those guys who has a lasting impression which will continue to appeal to brands,” according to Chandramouli.

(Published in Business Standard)