Author : Nitin Fernandes
20. Gagan Narang (₹2.7cr)
He won a bronze medal for the 10-meter air-rifle at the London Olympics and gold medals in air-rifle events at the 2006 and 2010 Commonwealth Games. Samsung, one of the global sponsors for the 2012 Olympics, has signed up Gagan under its Olympic Ratna brand association programme. Also, a provider of TabTop PCs and Domestic Robots, Milagrow HumanTech, will soon launch TabTop/Domestic Robot in the name of Olympic bronze medal winner Gagan Narang.
19. Vijender Singh (₹3.2cr)
A bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics made him extremely popular. His recent performances in the boxing ring may not have been up to the mark, but he’s on the verge of becoming a TV reality star. He endorses brands like Emami, Bajaj Allianz, Siyaram and Venky’s Vencobb chicken, a brand from Venkateshwara Hatcheries Group.
18. Mary Kom (₹3.32cr)
An Olympics bronze medal in 2012 gave her worldwide recognition making her a household name. The five-time world champion is now the brand ambassador for Super Fight League, India’s first mixed martial arts event and spearheads P&G’s Proud Sponsor of Mums campaign.
17. Mahesh Bhupati (₹4.06cr)
Bhupathi is ranked world No. 11 in doubles. He and his doubles partner Rohan Bopanna put in a series of strong performances, winning the ATP 100 event in Paris and reaching the final of the World Tour in London. Off the court, he’s the head of sports media consultancy Globosport, which also runs a tennis academy, and sports365.com (an online sporting goods portal). Mahesh Bhupathi endorses brands like Colgate Total.
16. Leander Paes (₹4.41cr)
Leander is ranked as the No 3 doubles player in the world. The 1996 Olympics bronze medalist has made his debut in Bollywood with Rajdhani Express. Leander Paes is currently the brand ambassador of the All India Football Federation.
15. Sania Mirza (₹5.3cr)
She’s won two Grand Slam mixed doubles titles and is ranked No. 12 on the WTA doubles list. In 2012, she won the Pattaya Open doubles crown in February, the Brussels Open in May and reached the final in Beijing, Indian Wells and Dubai. Sania has endorsed brands like Cadbury, Adidas, Hyundai, Sahara, Atlas Cycles.
14. Zaheer Khan (₹7.06cr)
Zaheer has taken almost 300 wickets in both Tests and One-Day Internationals. A $900,000 move to the Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2011 augmented his earnings and he finished IPL 5 as the team’s second highest wicket-taker with 17 scalps.
13. Harbhajan Singh (₹8.19cr)
Harbhajan is the second highest wicket-taking off spinner (Tests) of all times. Bhajji captained the Mumbai Indians to Champions League T20 glory in 2011. He holds endorsement deals with Reebok , Pepsi , Royal Stag.
12. Rahul Dravid (₹8.31cr)
Dravid hung up his gloves at the end of the the CLT20 tournament and he’ll always be remembered as ‘The Wall’. Dravid endorses a number of brands including Reebok, Pepsi, Castrol, Max Life, Citizen and Gillette.
11. Suresh Raina (₹8.94cr)
Raina is the highest run-scorer in the history of the IPL. His career average for the Indian T20 side is an impressive 33.60. He is the brand ambassador for Adidas and Pepsi.
10. Viswanathan Anand (₹12.1cr)
Bringing up the rear end of the list, we have current World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand. Anand has endorsed NIIT for a very long time now, and signed a long-term contract with TVH last season. AMD, Parle-G Milk Shakti, and Vidyasagar are some of the other brands that are endorsed by Anand.
9. Rohit Sharma (₹12.23cr)
“Talented” cricketer Rohit Sharma is next on the list. He earned roughly ₹0.13cr more than Anand last year. Sharma earns a lot from the Indian Premier League, where he has led Mumabi Indians to an IPL-CLT20 double this year. Nike is one of the big names that the Mumbaikar endorses.
8. Jeev Milkha Singh (₹12.45cr)
When it comes to earnings from the sport alone, there’s probably no Indian who earns more from Jeev Milkha Singh. The son of legendary Indian athlete Milkha Singh, he signed a lucrative deal with Volvo India earlier this year.
7. Saina Nehwal (₹13.17cr)
The only woman on this list, the Olympic bronze-medallist earns around ₹13.17cr a year. Herbalife, Top Ramen Noodles, Fortune Cooking Oil, and Titan are some of the top brands she endorses.
6. Yuvraj Singh (₹16.14cr)
India’s World-Cup winning hero, just like other cricketers on the list, earns well from the Indian Premier League. He also earns handsomely from deals with brands such as Fiat, Reebok and Seagram’s Royal Stag.
5. Gautam Gambhir (₹26.94cr)
Being dropped from the Indian team doesn’t seem to have affected Gautam Gambhir’s bank balance much. The Delhi batsman still earns a great deal from other activities. In the 2011 IPL auction, he was the player bought for the highest amount. In addition, he has endorsement deals with Reebok and Red Bull.
4. Virender Sehwag (₹27.73cr)
Just like his Delhi teammate Gautam Gambhir, Sehwag isn’t exactly in favour with the Indian selectors right now. But having craved out a fine career for himself, Viru has endorsement deals that pay him well. Hero Honda, J.K Cement, Fila, and Royal Challenge are some of the big companies he is contracted to.
3. Virat Kohli (₹47.27cr)
The man tipped by many to become the next captain of the Indian cricket team, Virat Kohli carries home nearly ₹50cr every year. Having been retained by his IPL franchise in 2011, there’s no doubt that he’s earning big from the T20 league. Besides on-field earnings, Kohli earns more than ₹30cr from endorsements with Nike, Pepsi, Carbon, Toyota, and Fair Menz. One must say that most of those advertisements are terrible but does Kohli care?
2. Sachin Tendulkar (₹97.46cr)
The greatest modern Indian sportspersonality, for long, ruled the roost as the highest sportsman in India. His batting abilities might be shrinking, but his bank balance is still impaired. The master blaster has profitable endorsements with Coca Cola, Visa, Phillips, Castrol India, Toshiba, Sanyo BPL, etc.
1. MS Dhoni (₹135.16cr)
..and at numero uno, we have who else but Mahendra Singh Dhoni. There are seven cricketers on the list, and the Indian captain tops it off. Although Dhoni’s IPL earnings are undisclosed, it is widely believed that he is the highest paid player in the IPL. Aircel, Titan, Godrej, Reebok, Gulf Oil are just some of the top brands that the Ranchi-lad endorses. In addition, Dhoni also happens to have his own FIM Supersport World Championship team, called Mahi Racing Team India.
The list has been complied based on Forbes’ Celebrity 100.