MS Dhoni

NEW DELHI: MS Dhoni may or may not retain his captaincy, but his popularity seems to be on the decline at least in the corporate world, with five companies ending endorsement deals with the Indian cricket captain.

Only 22 advertisers used Dhoni in commercials during January-November, down from 27 a year earlier, shows data put together by research and media-tracking agency TAM for ET. The number of products or brands he endorses declined even more sharply to 28, from 43.

Some industry experts say the country’s most successful and bankable sportsperson so far, with estimated earnings of more than Rs 70 crore a year from endorsements, may see his brand value dip up to 30% if he loses the Test captaincy.

“Any change in Dhoni’s current position may lead to a dip in his endorsement brand value by 25-30%,” says Shailendra Singh, joint MD of entertainment and talent management firm Percept Ltd. “There’s always a premium brands pay when they sign up a captain,” he says.

But Dhoni has many backers, including companies such as PepsiCo that recently renewed his endorsement contract. Arun Pandey, promoter of talent management firm Rhiti Sports that manages Dhoni’s business deals, says the number of advertisers has gone down because contracts with some smaller advertisers were not renewed.