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BW Businessworld

Brands Ride The Olympic Wave In India’s Good Year

Several brands and politicians have come forward announcing the monetary reward and other perks for the javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra and other athletes

Photo Credit : @Neeraj_chopra1

Last week turned out to be a monumental one for India when Neeraj Chopra made history by winning individual Olympic gold in Tokyo. Indian has recorded its best-ever Olympic haul of seven medals (1 gold, 2 silver, and 4 bronze), thus surpassing the 2012 record of six medals. 

While the nation sent its largest-ever contingent of 124 competitors to the 2020 Games, it earned medals across a broad range of athletic disciplines.  

The showstopper, among all the athletes, is javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, who created history by becoming the country's first track and field athlete to clinch the gold with a throw of 87.58m. This is 1st ever Athletic medal for India and 2nd the individual Olympic gold medal after Abhinav Bindra (2008 Beijing). And unsurprisingly, several brands and politicians have come forward announcing the monetary reward and other perks for the javelin thrower and other winners.

While the Haryana government announced a cash reward of Rs 6 crore and a class I category state government job for the 23-year-old athlete, the Punjab government announced a cash reward of Rs 2 crore for him. Likewise, the Manipur cabinet decided to extend a reward of Rs 1 crore to the Olympic gold medallist.  

Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on August 7 announced, "We will be building a Centre of Excellence for athletes in Panchkula, where he will be the head if he wants. He will be given a plot with 50% concession, like other players." 

Not just the state governments, but commercial brands across India are offering rewards to the poster boy as Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Edtech major BYJU'S offered a reward of Rs. 1 crore each. Furthermore, the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Chennai Super Kings also declared a reward of Rs 1 crore for the javelin thrower. While budget airline major IndiGo announced that it will offer unlimited free travel for one year to Chopra, Anand Mahindra has promised to gift him the upcoming SUV XUV700.  

Badminton Star P.V. Sindhu may have won the bronze in Tokyo, but she’s certainly struck gold back home. The ace shuttler, the first Indian woman to win two Olympic medals, is likely to see a surge in her brand endorsement fee and value, said a sports marketing executive requesting anonymity. Some brand experts claim that Sindhu could see her annual brand fee go up by more than 50-60 per cent from Rs 1.5-2.0 crore to Rs 3-4 crore. 

Visa has been a long-standing worldwide sponsor of the Olympic & Paralympic Games since 1986 and runs a global athlete support program during each edition of the Games. In the lead-up to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, it has signed PV Sindhu as the first-ever Team Visa athlete from India.  

Dainik Bhaskar Group has announced a reward of ₹ 25 lakhs for the team which has laid the foundation of a new era in women's hockey in India. Each member of the team will receive an equal amount of Rs 1 lakh from this reward beginning with the 18 players, chief coach, analytical coach, scientific advisor, physiotherapist, video analyst, masseuse, and all other members.   

Ritesh Nath, an industry professional and CEO of, eSports Players Welfare Association, told BW Businessworld, “Numbers reported this year are higher than the last Olympics in Rio. The sponsorship value also significantly went up with brands like JSW, Herbalife, MPL, etc signing on. In the next edition, the number of sponsors and the value of each sponsor will also go up. The increase in value is because there is growing visibility and attention on Olympic sports in India. There are better performances by the Indian athletes at the Olympics along with better coverage by the broadcasters."  

Indian Olympic Association (IOA) had earlier announced that it has signed up more than a dozen sponsors for the mega event including, Edelweiss, MPL, Herbalife Nutrition, Inox Group, Raymond, Amul, Nippon Paint, JSW, Sports for all, Dhanya, and SRL Diagnostic. It has just been announced that it has roped in Adani Group as a sponsor for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the future.   

“Marketers look at the Olympics as a national event across multiple disciplines. The support is tremendous as the athletes representing the nation across different disciplines such as Track and Field, Hockey, Weightlifting, etc come from every corner of the country. People who win Olympic medals for the country are revered in their own right. It is quite a prestigious accomplishment to win a medal for the country,” Nath further added, while talking to BW Businessworld.  

It is to be mentioned that the Tokyo Olympics, which was postponed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic finally kickstarted on July 23 with the Paralympics set to begin on August 24. While kicking off the proceedings, the organizers said the Olympics will now cost USD 15.4 billion to stage, which is up from USD 12.6 billion in last year’s budget.      

Brands And Its Pre-Olympics Bonhomie….  
Even before the commencement of the much-hyped Olympics, brands have also not held back from supporting the Indian contingent despite Covid blues. From representing athletes to curating Olympics-special campaigns, many Indian brands rode the Olympic bandwagon.  

INOX Group is associated with India Olympics Association (IOA) as an official sponsor of the Indian Olympic Team to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. “When the athlete reaches a global platform like Olympics, he also demonstrates the spirit of togetherness, collaborations, and outstanding teamwork. All these ingredients place Olympics notches above the rest of the global sporting events. This is why everything about Olympics and Olympians instills a sense of pride, which no other sporting event can generate,” Alok Tandon, CEO – INOX Leisure Ltd.  

MPL Sports Foundation, the community arm of Mobile Premier League (MPL), launched an advertising campaign featuring some of the biggest Indian Olympic stars. “The athletes representing us are some of the bests in the world and have achieved significant milestones, but they are not as celebrated as they deserve to be. We aim to reach every Indian and inspire them to become fans of the Indian Olympic team,” said Sai Srinivas, Trustee, MPL Sports Foundation and Co-Founder and CEO, MPL.   

Sony Pictures Sports Network (SPSN), the official broadcaster of the games, had earlier signed over dozen sponsors for the multi-sports. Coca- Cola, Amul, Hero Motocorp, JSW, and MPL have come on board as co-presenting sponsors, while the Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI), RBI, Visa, Lenovo, Byju's and Herbalife Nutrition are the associate sponsors for the mega event.    

Ranjana Mangla, Sr. VP & Head of Ad Revenue, Sony LIV reveals, “As India enters its 100th year of participation at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, we see a plethora of brands lending their support to the athletes making their way to Tokyo. With the mega sporting event going live on SonyLIV, we are witnessing phenomenal responses from advertisers who want to reach out and engage better with their targeted audience.”   

Athletic apparel and footwear manufacturer PUMA signed 18 Indian athletes representing the country in national and international events across sporting disciplines like shooting, hockey, track and field, boxing, table tennis, discus throw, and badminton. Abhishek Ganguly, Managing Director, PUMA India & Southeast Asia. “Our athletes have time and again proven their mettle. I am sure with their grit and determination they will continue to outperform themselves,” he added.  

While many reckon that a power-packed performance by multiple athletes in Tokyo could be the turning point for Indian sport, are we finally moving ahead from being a country obsessed with a so-called ‘Colonial sport’ called Cricket and focussing on real international level sport? Watch this space for more!