Now that cricketer Virat Kohli is a cricket superstar is known to everyone and at least in the South Asia, he is as big a brand as he is amongst other cricket playing nations. But what if someone tells you that he is bigger brand that longtime sporting legend Lionel Messi. The Indian captain has now surpassed Argentine football legend Lionel Messi in the list of most valuable brands among athletes, according to Forbes.
Kohli is ranked seventh in Forbes’ list ahead of Messi, golf superstar Rory McIlroy and basketball star Stephen Curry, but he still has a long way to go before he can catch up to the top-ranked Roger Federer.
Kohli’s value this year stands at $14.5 million while Messi is ranked ninth with $13.5 million. Tennis legend Federer tops the list with a brand value of $37.2 million followed by NBA star LeBron James ($33.4m) and sprint king Usain Bolt ($27m).
Kohli’s phenomenal success in the last two years has seen his brand value soar up and above, especially after he took over the captaincy from Mahendra Singh Dhoni in all formats earlier this year.
Kohli also leaped ahead of his former captain this year to be valued at a whopping $92 million, according to an October 2016 report on India’s most valued celebrity brands published by Duff & Phelps, a global valuation and corporate finance advisory firm.
The 28-year-old’s brand value was expected to rise up by 20-25% this year. He is quickly catching up to Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan, who has been valued at $131 million.
Kohli’s form with the bat has had a direct effect on India’s performance as a team in the longest format. He recently surpassed Ricky Ponting on the list of batsmen with most ODI hundreds after he smashed his 31st ton in the format in the first ODI against New Zealand in Mumbai.