A limited number of Australian companies have the potential to reach over a billion consumers and W Sports and Media (WSM) is one of those select few. Through our partnership with leading Indian talent management agency Cornerstone, we have a direct relationship with global cricket superstar Virat Kohli and a host of India’s best cricketers.
Following the entering of a joint venture partnership in July 2018 with Cornerstone, WSM commenced representing Kohli and fellow Indian cricketers Ravindra Jadeja, K.L. Rahul, Yuvraj Singh and Umesh Yadav in Australia. WSM Director Garry Winter was a central figure in the genesis of the relationship and revealed the circumstances which led up to it.
“The relationship was formed after we were negotiating a commentary deal for one of our high profile clients with Star TV in India”, said Winter. “I had been in discussions with Star TV directly and they then referred me to Cornerstone for further opportunities for our tennis players in the Indian market. It was at that point that I realised that they represented Virat and other Indian cricketers”.
Preliminary discussions commenced between WSM and Cornerstone with Winter forced to divert his flight back home to Adelaide, to Mumbai, after climbing Mount Everest with Kyle Hartigan and the Crows Foundation. There he met with Cornerstone’s owners and Star TV personnel where the relationship with the top Indian agency was formalised into an exclusive agreement.
For Winter, the partnership was a no-brainer and represented an exciting opportunity to work with global cricket royalty in Kohli who as of November 2021 had 169 million followers on Instagram. That number makes Kohli the third most followed athlete on the planet behind football luminaries Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi and ahead of superstars LeBron James, David Beckham and Lewis Hamilton.
“Australia is home to large Indian communities in most of our state capitals”, affirmed Winter. “These are growing communities, and all would be aware of Virat’s influence and reach. Most Aussies are sports lovers and whether they’re into cricket or not, they would know who Virat Kohli is and how revered he is in the Subcontinent and on the global stage”.
Looking ahead, Winter believes there are enormous opportunities for exposure and growth for Australian businesses and brands looking to partner with Kohli as the world moves into a post-pandemic future. “Sport has always been a unifying force. The sporting prowess of someone like Virat is important in uplifting people and providing them with hope”, said Winter.
He points to an example of a commercial partnership Kohli had with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) following his marriage with Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma as evidence of his significant reach. “When I was in India, Cornerstone had completed a campaign for Virat and Anushka with the SLTDA where the newlyweds were paid by SLTDA to honeymoon in Sri Lanka.”
“In the months following their honeymoon, Indian tourism to Sri Lanka increased by more than 100% with the rise directly attributed to Virat’s honeymoon in the country. This example is one of many which goes to show his reverence in India and its large diasporic communities in the UK, North America as well as Australia”, concluded Winter.
WSM is taking expressions of interest from Australian businesses seeking to partner with Virat and other Cornerstone athletes. To be part of this unique opportunity, please contact our Head of Partnership Benjamin Tucker via email at email@example.com or by phone on 0405 568 738.