top of page

Shohei Gets Shown the Money: Dodgers sign Ohtani for 700M

Shohei Ohtani signed a contract yesterday with the Los Angeles Dodgers for 700 million USD over the next ten years. You probably know that already. Here's the thing, the Dodgers are actually going to make much more money from Ohtani than he will make from them. There are always questions about a player's health and ability to last the lenght of a long-term contract, but the reasons why this was a good deal for the Dodgers are strong.

Yes, Ohtani does have a track record of getting hurt once in a while. He will likely not be able to pitch during 2024 as his arm heals from a throwing injury from the recently played MLB season. Yet, he will hit, and he will likely do this at a significant level, which could help propel the Dodgers into playoff and championship contention. He is 29 years old and only turns 30 in July of 2024, which signals he has a handful of years ahead with a potential for excellent performances. While playing for the Los Angeles Angels since 2018, Shohei Ohtani has not been able to showcase his talents in the MLB playoffs. That will certainly change when playing for the Dodgers.

Let's not forget Ohtani's performance in the 2023 World Baseball Classic. He struck out Angel teammate, Mike Trout, to win the Championship for Japan in an absolutely electric moment in March while defeating team USA. Ohtani has and can produce big under the spotlight. He has consistently lived up to and exceeded expectations during his MLB career. It isn't often players are compared to Babe Ruth in the same sentence, a comparison that was laughable when any name was mentioned with the famous Yankee (and Red Sox before), discussing Ohtani's ability to pitch and hit puts him politely into the conversation. Ohtani will have to achieve World Series Championships however to solidify this juxtaposition.

The money being paid to Ohtani may seem obscene to we, the mere mortals of this world, but let's take a look at some numbers. Let's consider the additional advertising money the Dodgers will now make being able to market into Japan, and perhaps other nations that love baseball in Asia. Clearly there will be heaps of money made on selling jerseys, not only with Ohtani's name spelled in English, but Japanese as well. Sponsorships, licenses and merchandising contract costs and values will jump through the roof for companies wanting to be affiliated with the Dodgers.

There is also the worth of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, which likely just added to their price tag if 'suiters' want to try and buy the club, which in the spring of 2023 had an estimated value of 4.8 billion USD. Having Ohtani in the midst of Los Angeles will make this number jump substantially. The Dodgers television and advertising rights are massive already, and can grow larger because of the money they will charge during the broadcasts for commercials. The Dodgers reportably have a 8.35 billion USD deal for their regional broadcast rights with Spectrum SportsNet LA - Time Warner Cable already.

Dentsu Inc., the advertising and public relations giant in Japan, signed a six year 275 million USD with Major League Baseball to sell the rights of MLB games into Japan starting in 2024. However, the Dodgers who are already followed in Japan will certainly add to their exposure among MLB baseball fans in the nation who will want to watch Ohtani play. Major League Baseball and Dentsu are probably thrilled that the Japanese star has signed with the Dodgers and the prospect of more international media attention.

Baseball fans that love the Dodgers and for those that hate them, there is also the knowledge that Ohtani has apparently agreed to defer a huge amount of his contract until year ten. This means the Dodgers will be left room via MLB'S Competitive Balance Tax to operate effectively and still have money to spend on other highly prized players. The Dodgers can go after Japanese pitching ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto with additional piles of cash, who will certainly listen now that Ohtani has joined Los Angeles.

Lastly in terms of numbers, the contract with Ohtani is staggering. Yet there are other contracts in sports that are eye opening. Jon Rahm, the golfer, apparently inked an individual deal with LIV Golf last week which will be worth around 500 million USD to play on the highly cash infused 'Saudi' tour instead of the PGA. There has certainly been inflation in the world, but the money being tossed around for 'players' is gigantic in the NFL, IPL - Indian Premier League Cricket, assorted football (soccer) leagues globally, Formula 1, NBA, LIV Golf, and MLB which make many contracts questionable. But again, Ohtani may prove to be quite a steal for the Dodgers regarding their ability to make money via this contract.


bottom of page