PV Sindhu, India’s Olympic medalist, is the only sportsperson in the Forbes’ ‘Tycoon of Tomorrow’ list. The list compiles 22 of India’s most promising young talents in such diverse fields as business, acting and sports.
She finds herself in the esteemed company of leaders like Ritesh Agarwal, Karan Adani, Ananya Birla and Ashni Biyani. This ,again, is a stark reflection of how Indian sports industry is struggling to generate leaders.
Radha Kapoor Khanna, who is the founder of the DoIt Sports Management, is the only other personality from a sports background. Apart from being the owners of Pro Kabaddi League teams of Delhi, her company also owns one team each in Hockey India League and Ultimate Table Tennis.
Ameera Shah of Metropolis Healthcare; Anant Goenka, MD, CEAT tyres; Archit Gupta of ClearTax; Anant Goenka of Indian Express; Actress Bhumi Pednekar; Girish Mathrubootham, CEO, Freshworks; Nadia Chauhan of Parle Agro; Zerodha founders Nithin and Nikhil Kamath; PC Musthafa of iD Fresh Food; Siddharth Bindra of Biba and Upasna Konidela of Apollo Life among others make up the 22 named list released by Forbes on 21 September.
PV Sindhu: Rise of the most bankable sports personality
Pusarla Venkata Sindhu, born on 5 July 1995, garnered international attention after breaking into the top of the BWF World Ranking at just 17 years of age. In 2013, she became the first ever Indian women’s singles player to win a medal at the Badminton World Championships.
But the real break for Sindhu came in the 2016 Olympics, when she became the first Indian woman to win an Olympic silver medal. Riches followed soon after.
According to Forbes, PV Sindhu (₹57.25 crore) was the highest money gainer in 2017 (in terms of %). Her total earnings soared nearly 17 times that year. The dramatic rise was propelled by several brand endorsements following Olympics.
She’s not new to the Forbes ranking, with the business magazine ranking among the top ten best paid female athletes in world, earlier in August. She earned at least $8.5 million (or roughly ₹62 Crores) between June 2017 and June 2018. In fact, she’s now richer than grand slam winners Simona Halep and Angelique Kerber.
As for the brand endorsements, she charges anywhere between ₹1 to ₹1.5 crore a day. But that hasn’t discouraged brands from lining up, with organisations such as Reckitt Benckiser (for Moov), online fashion store Myntra, foods maker Apis and state-run lender Bank of Baroda in her portfolio.
Last year, PV Sindhu also overtook MS Dhoni (and other fellow cricketers), making more cash for each day of endorsing brands. Ruling the roost in a traditionally male dominated industry justifies her tag as one of India’s most bankable sports personality.
Indian Cricket is still the crowd puller
When it comes to financial returns, Sindhu’s is a rare case, backed by an even rarer Olympic Silver. The sports picture is not rosy elsewhere, especially if you take cricket out of the equation. Last years Forbes top 100 celebrity list featured 15 cricketers, with Virat Kohli coming in at No. 3 with gross earnings of ₹100.72 crores. In contrast, there were only 6 sportspersons from non-cricketing backgrounds – PV Sindhu (Badminton, #13, ₹ 57.25 cr.), Saina Nehwal (Badminton, #29, ₹31 cr.), Anirban Lahiri (Golf, #63, ₹12.44 cr.), Kidambi Srikanth (Badminton, #83, ₹6.3 cr.), Sania Mirza (Tennis, #98, ₹2.80 cr.) and Sunil Chhetri (Football, #100, ₹2.3 cr.).
Although the advent of multiple sporting leagues and their consequent popularity is on the rise, the numbers indeed show that, in India, cricket is not only the most successful sport but also one of the best businesses.