Shock waves rippled through social media as just a day before the opening match of the Indian Premier League 2024 edition between Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bengaluru, the defending champ’s captain M S Dhoni announced he was handing over the baton Ruturaj Gaikwad. An emotional “End of an Era” trended on X as Dhoni’s long stint as captain of CSK, which began in 2008 (with a break in 2022 when Ravinder Jadeja took over the reins) ended.

Captain Cool, had hinted at a “ new role” just two weeks ago in a Facebook post. While cricket gurus opined the move would lead to a smooth transition for the team, marketing experts were divided as to how his and CSK’s brand value would be impacted. 

Dhoni’s timeless appeal

Ajimon Francis,MD, Brand Finance said, “ I do not see any impact or change on his endorsement deals because for advertisers what is important is that he should be visible on the screen. He is also a smart businessman and has made strategic investments. So one does not see much impact on his influence as a brand ambassador.”

Angel Investor and Business Strategist Lloyd Mathias said, “ I think brands with relationships with Dhoni would have already factored in that he is in the sunset of his career. He is a well-regarded sports personality and has been a senior statesman in cricket both for the Indian team and Chennai Super Kings. He has also had a kind of unblemished and controversy-free post-retirement career. So I don’t think this development will have a significant impact on brand Dhoni.”

However, Mathias felt that Dhoni’s stepping away from captaincy could have an adverse impact on brand Chennai Super Kings in the long term.

Team may be hit

Santosh N, Managing Partner, D & P Advisory pointed out, “ Brands have been associated with M S Dhoni even post his decision to retire from international cricket in 2020. So I do believe brands will continue to work with him. But how this decision or his retirement impacts brand CSK remains to be seen. One of the key reasons that CSK enjoys such a loyal fan base from across the country is because the supporters are fans of Dhoni.”

Sandeep Goyal, Chairman, Rediffusion said, “ Brand Dhoni scores high on trustworthiness and dependability. This has been the key reason why he has continued to get many new brand endorsements in the past 3-5 years. But while some of those may continue, we may see brand Dhoni beginning to see a slowdown.”

In recent months, Dhoni has been seen endorsing a slew of brands such as Lay’s, SBI, JioMart, WinZo, Homelane, Indigo Paints, Gulf Oil, Orient Electric, Asian Footwear, Kopiko among others. He is an investor in ventures such as drone start-up Garuda Aerospace and fitness start-up Tagda Raho. He also has investments in franchises such as Chennaiyin FC.