INTERNATIONAL -- You don’t have to look very far to see unhealthy food and beverage brands playing a part in most major sports.
Soft drink brands such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi have long been affiliated with the endorsements of major leagues in North America and overseas.
For an extended period of time, corporate soft drink brands have been an unquestioned part of athletics and an athlete’s endorsements but recently, Indian cricket star Virat Kohli has changed that.
You may not know the popular name, but for cricket fans in India Virat Kohli is the biggest household name in the sport.
The star athlete and widely known public figure earns over $22-million annually which places him 89 on Forbes highest-paid athletes, and with $19-million of his earnings coming from endorsements alone, Kohli is no stranger to soft drink endorsement deals.
Virat Kohli has been under a six-year endorsement deal with the drink company Pepsi Co. but as of April. 30, that deal has since ended.
Over the years Virat Kohli has had a fitness and health turn around, as part of his change Kohli has grown more apprehensive about promoting products that go against that.
“If I myself won’t consume such things, I won’t urge others to consume it just because I’m getting money out of it,” Kohli has stated.
Being the face of many major brands, this resonates with many fans of the 28-year-old cricket star, but Kohli is not the first star of India to pioneer the ideology of not endorsing such unhealthy beverages.
Longtime Bollywood superstar actor Amitabh Bachnan has been refusing to continue to endorse Pepsi since 2014, and other star Indian athletes have been saying no as well including tennis star PV Sindhu.
It seems just as brands such as tobacco companies have perished in endorsements over time, many may see the rise of a new non-soft drink form of celebrity endorsement that for many years has long been overdue.