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Ganguly, Percept set to resume innings

Shuchi Bansal | October 01, 2003

There's nothing official about it. At least, not yet. Though celebrity management and events company, Percept D'Mark has agreed to match the Nimbus offer to the Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly for endorsement contracts, the deal is yet to be signed and sealed.

"We have matched our rival's offer and the paperwork with Sourav Ganguly should be completed by the end of the week," says Sanjay Lal, chief executive officer and executive director at Percept D'Mark.

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"The basic reason for Sourav Ganguly to consider a fresh offer was money and we have been able to match that," he adds.

While Lal is confident of Ganguly returning to the Percept fold, Nimbus promoter Harish Thawani could not be contacted for comments.

Percept signed on Ganguly in September 2000 and for the last three years the company was handling all brand endorsement contracts for the Indian cricket captain.

However, when Ganguly's contract with Percept was about to expire on September 23, marketing company Nimbus made him an offer of about Rs 60 crore (Rs 600 million) for five years.

Lal, however, claims that the figure was highly exaggerated. Though he does not divulge the actual figures, advertising industry sources say that Ganguly was offered approximately Rs 48 crore (Rs 480 million) for five years.

Sources also add that Ganguly was unhappy with Percept as it generated about Rs 15 crore (Rs 150 million) worth of contracts for him in the last three years, which is much lower than what WorldTel achieved for Sachin Tendulkar. Tendulkar apparently rakes in Rs 20 crore (Rs 200 million) per annum from brand endorsements.

Though Lal refuses to confirm Ganguly's income from endorsements, he admits that the previous contract did not ensure any minimum guarantees for the cricket star.

"You must remember that we picked up Sourav Ganguly when cricket was going through a bad phase -- the game as well as cricket stars were scam tainted and people were losing faith in the game," says Lal.

However, all that has changed with the Indian team's creditable performance during the World Cup earlier this year.

"Besides, Ganguly has been a successful captain and he should get a premium for his performance," he adds.

In accordance with the fresh contract to be signed between Ganguly and Percept, the latter will have to ensure its client a basic minimum guarantee of Rs 48 crore over the five-year period.

Essentially, it will have to fetch an additional Rs 5 crore (Rs 50 million) worth of business per year. But Percept does not perceive that as a challenge.

"Hypothetically speaking, we will need to get him six contracts worth Rs 1.5 crore (Rs 15 million) per annum, which is not such a great challenge," says Lal.

Even currently Sourav endorses several brands such as Hero Honda, Pepsi, ESPN, Sahara and LG, some of which are up for renewal. It is believed that while Ganguly was making about Rs 1.2 crore (Rs 12 million) per annum per brand, he may now charge up to Rs 2 crore (Rs 20 million) per contract.

However, Lal is not willing to chalk out his business plan for Ganguly. "We will do some innovative promotions for him to meet the minimum guarantee terms," he says.

It may be recalled that the company, which is ready to sign him on for Rs 48 crore had filed for an injunction for its Right to Match, in the Bombay high court.

"We did not sue him for breach of contract as was reported in the papers," claims Lal. But till Ganguly actually signs on the dotted line, the case is still open.

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