Noth­ing Of­fi­cial About It: Kohli Says No to Pepsi

Won’t re­new con­tract with Pep­siCo as Team In­dia cap­tain bats for a healthy life­style

The Economic Times - - Front Page - Ratna.Bhushan@ times­

New Delhi: Pep­siCo and In­dian cricket’s swash­buck­ling cap­tain Vi­rat Kohli have parted ways, end­ing a six-year en­dorse­ment as­so­ci­a­tion amid con­cerns ex­pressed by the star about pro­mot­ing prod­ucts that go against his ideals of fit­ness just for money.

With this, the bev­er­ages and snacks maker, which has banked on house­hold names glob­ally as well as in In­dia to back its main­stay brands, has lost the coun­try’s high­est-paid celebrity and its most mar­ketable face.

“Yes, the old agree­ment has ended and both par­ties have am­i­ca­bly de­cided not to re­new (it) as of now,” a Pep­siCo spokesper­son con­firmed in an email. “We are in con­stant touch to ex­plore new as­so­ci­a­tions.” An email query sent to Cor­ner­stone, the tal­ent man­age­ment firm that rep­re­sents Kohli, elicited no re­sponse. Kohli’s en­dorse­ment deal with Pep­siCo ended on April 30. A fit­ness en­thu­si­ast, he had ex­pressed reser­va­tions in an in­ter­view about be­ing as­so­ci­ated with a sug­ary drink. The In­dian cap­tain com­mands an en­dorse­ment fee of .₹ 4.5 crore to .₹ 5 crore a day com­pared with .₹ 2.5 crore to .₹ 4 crore a day last year. The cricket star was ranked 89th in the Forbes list of the world’s high­est-paid ath­letes in 2017, with earn­ings of $22 mil­lion.

“So the need was felt to is­sue fresh guide­lines and clamp down on the ram­pant use of the lawns,” the of­fi­cial said.

The last event that will be al­lowed is the World Food Fes­ti­val, or­gan­ised by the min­istry of food pro­cess­ing in Oc­to­ber. Per­mis­sion for this event was ob­tained be­fore the new guide­lines were is­sued this month.

The new rules also don’t al­low the book­ing of space be­hind Vi­gyan Bhawan on nearby Maulana Azad Road, which was be­ing used for ca­ter­ing and park­ing fa­cil­i­ties dur­ing events at the In­dia Gate lawns. The book­ing charges for the two lawns re­main un­changed at ₹ 1 lakh per day for com­mer­cial events such as movie shoots and ₹ 10,000 per day for non-com­mer­cial func­tions.

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