Tendulkar May Retire Before BCCI Downgrades Contract from Grade A

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Washington, DC – Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, arguably the greatest batsman to ever step onto a cricket pitch, is suffering the effects of age and injuries, but still holds the number two spot on the earnings list next to Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who tops the list of the world’s highest-paid cricketers, according to Forbes Media Group.

“Age and injuries have caused Tendulkar’s play to decline in recent seasons, but he should still be able to command more endorsement money than every other cricketer except for MS Dhoni,” predicted Chris Smith, one of the top journalists with SportsMoney, Forbes Media.

Regarding his article, “MS Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar Lead The World’s Highest-Paid Cricketers,” Smith told India America Today in an interview, “I don’t think that his earnings will dictate when he will retire. If his play continues to decline, I think that Tendulkar will probably retire before the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) considers downgrading his contract from Grade A.”

In his article, Smith said that Tendulkar’s income last year was, “hurt by injuries that kept him out of ten games with the IPL’s Mumbai Indians, but he can find relief in the fact that the BCCI plans to reimburse the veteran for games missed in the IPL and Champions League Twenty20.”

Tendulkar, with 16 current sponsors, including Adidas, Coca-Cola, Castrol and Toshiba, was paid a total $16.5 million, but the report noted, “Tendulkar’s sponsorship earnings are actually stunted by the fact that he refuses to endorse alcohol products. In 2010 he turned down an offer from Vijay Mallya‘s United Breweries Group that reportedly would have paid more than $4 million per year.”

At the top of the Forbes list is Dhoni, with “an unprecedented $26.5 million,” but Smith noted that only a small portion of that payout, about $3.5 million, came directly from Dhoni’s on-field play. 

Smith explained that the Grade A national contract with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that Dhoni enjoys, “pays a base salary of about $200,000, though he also receives match fees and bonuses that boost his national pay well above $500,000 each year.”

As one of the IPL’s highest-paid players, Dhoni also earns about $125,000 per game played and he has not missed a single game for the Super Kings since June of 2011, including 19 in the last IPL and four in last year’s Nokia Champions League Twenty20.

With the remaining sum of $23 million coming from Dhoni’s impressive list of nearly 25 endorsements, including PepsiCo, Reebok and Sony, Smith said Dhoni in 2010 became the country’s most popular television endorser, blowing away even Bollywood’s top stars. Dhoni has an impressive motorcycle collection, including the recent purchase of a $50,000 Confederate X132 Hellcat, reportedly the only one of its kind in South Asia.

The next three spots on the Forbes list are also held by Indians Gautam Gambhir (third highest-paid at $7.3 million) and Virat Kohli (fourth at $7.1 million).

Smith predicted, “There are plenty of young players who will be surging up the earnings list in the next few years,” adding, “Rohit Sharma is another young cricketer who will likely make our list in the next year or two; he barely missed this year, and he has one of the biggest contracts in the Indian Premier League.”

On the meteoric rise in the earnings of cricketers around the world, especially India, Smith said that the top ten highest-earning cricketers made a combined $90 million last year, about 70% of which was generated from sponsorships and endorsements. 

“The last time that we estimated cricketer earnings was in 2009, and the top ten that year made a combined $49 million, so pay for the sport’s top players has greatly increased in recent years,” said Smith.

Smith doesn’t portend any diminishing in the skyrocketing earnings of talented cricketers, saying, “The current model will stop being sustainable only when Indian cricket fans stop watching, and I don’t foresee that happening anytime soon.”

Smith sees further increases in the pay for top cricketers in the immediate future, concluding that, “the sport will continue to be immensely popular in India.”

By special arrangement with ForbesMedia. Original article can be found at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/chrissmith/2012/07/26/ms-dhoni-sachin-tendulkar-lead-the-worlds-highest-paid-cricketers/

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