India captain Mahender Singh Dhoni is turning out to be a shrewd and prosperous businessman, matching his on-field exploits with his off-field deals. He has just signed a three-year deal worth a whopping Rs 26 Crore (around $5.7 million) to endorse McDowell's soda. By inscribing his signature on the concerned contract, Dhoni has closed the largest ever deal for an Indian sportsperson. McDowell's is owned by UB Group big wig Mr Vijay Mallya who is reportedly happy with the deal. The news was confirmed by Rhiti Sports Management owner, Mr Arun Pandey.
This deal comes fairly close on the heels of another far more lucrative contract. About five months back, Dhoni signed a three-year promotion deal worth around Rs 210 Crore ($42 billion) with a joint venture between Rhiti and advertising firm Mindscapes. The venture is behind Dhoni's full repertoire of endorsements, from brand associates to digital rights, along with his presence on social networking sites. Mindscapes was already handling Dhoni's promotions before the deal, but not all of his assets.
The formalities surrounding the McDowell's deal will be finalised by Jan next year. Before signing with McDowell's, Dhoni was a brand ambassador for Seagram's Royal Stag Mega Cricket Signs till July, along with his team-mates Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh. The India captain presently endorses over twenty brands, including PepsiCo, Reebok, Aircel, and Godrej, making him the most sought-after sportsperson.
Last year Forbes magazine named Dhoni the world's highest paid cricketer, ahead of Sachin Tendulkar. He is clocked with earnings of $10 million, of which 80 per cent come from endorsements.