Adidas signs up leading Indian athletes

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BOMBAY -- German athletic sportswear marketer Adidas, as part of its ongoing aggressive marketing strategy in the Indian market, has signed up South Asia's leading cricketer only a few days after roping in two of the subcontinent's best tennis players to endorse its brand.

Sachin Tendulkar, the Bombay-based allrounder for the Indian cricket team, has signed a six-year contract to endorse Adidas at practice sessions. Mr. Tendulkar, previously the star endorser for PepsiCo India, will not however wear the Adidas logo while playing for the Bombay or Indian cricket teams.

"From Adidas we never give such figures," says Christoph Holland, managing director of New Delhi based Adidas India Trading, which sells a range of sports apparel, footwear and accessories in India. But it is rumored that Mr. Tendulkar was paid an estimated $1.3 million, an unprecedented figure for the region.

The young sportsman is the first cricketer from South Asia to don Adidas's colors, the marketer says. Adidas a few days ago roped in Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes, the world No. 2 doubles pair from India, to endorse its brand.

Mr. Tendulkar's Pepsi contract, which expired last year, was not renewed after the U.S. soft drinks marketer found the cricketer an exorbitant buy. Payments franchise Visa international continues to use Mr. Tendulkar in ads and endorsements.

Copyright March 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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