The first player in Major League Baseball (MLB) to earn more than $100 million was pitcher Kevin Brown, who signed a seven-year, $105 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers in December 1998.
Brown became Major League Baseball’s first “$100 million man” while Park Chan-ho, then with the Dodgers, was competing in the Asian Games in Bangkok.
It was a historic contract, but not without its critics.
There were many who questioned the wisdom of paying a player $100 million just to play ball.
Twenty-five years after Brown, the major leagues had a new $700 million man.
Japanese star Shohei Ohtani, 29, signed a 10-year contract with the Dodgers on Tuesday for a total of $700 million (about $92 billion).
When Ohtani, a pitcher and hitter, became a free agent, most experts expected the total to exceed $500 million for the first time, but the actual contract far exceeded expectations.
Ohtani, who will receive an average of $70 million per year, just shy of the previous record of $43.3 million shared by Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, and well ahead of Mike Trout’s 12-year, $426.5 million contract total in 2019.
So, can the Dodgers afford to pay Ohtani such an astronomical sum?
Ahead of the 2023 season opener, the Dodgers were valued at $4.8 billion by Forbes, second only to the New York Yankees ($7.1 billion), who held the top spot for 25 consecutive years.
As of Opening Day, the Dodgers’ total annualized payroll was $212 million, ranking fifth overall.
But starting next year, the team will have to pay Ohtani $70 million, nearly one-third of the team’s total payroll.
That’s more than the entire payroll of the Oakland Athletics ($57 million) and Baltimore Orioles ($60 million), the two teams with the lowest total team payrolls this year.
Fortunately, Ohtani reportedly understands the Dodgers’ difficult position and has agreed to defer a large portion of his salary to be paid after the end of his contract.
Even so, the Dodgers will likely have to go all out on marketing to earn more than what they’re paying Ohtani.
Major League Baseball splits national broadcast rights and overseas rights, such as Japan, among its 30 teams.
However, the Dodgers can generate additional revenue through local rights and online video services (OTT).
After broadcasting rights, the Dodgers are expected to see an explosion in admission fees and sales of food, beverages, jerseys, and other souvenirs.
Just one jersey with Otani’s number on it will be worth a lot of money to fans in Japan, where baseball is a favorite sport. 아톰카지노
The Angels reportedly generate an additional $20 million in revenue from Otani each year.
The Dodgers, who are based in the same region as the Angels, but are much more popular, could benefit from Otani’s marketing even more than the Angels.
Ohtani, who underwent Tommy John surgery on his elbow last September, is expected to play exclusively as a hitter in 2024 and start pitching in 2025.
With Ohtani on the mound, attendance is expected to increase and ticket prices are expected to rise significantly.
In the past, Dodger Stadium has seen thousands of additional Korean-American fans on days when Park Chan-ho and Ryu Hyun-jin start.
If Ohtani’s signing pays off as planned, the Dodgers’ team value will also increase significantly.
However, all of this is contingent on Ohtani staying healthy.
If Ohtani is able to complete his rehab without any issues and pitch well, he will be able to live up to his price tag.
If Ohtani, who has had two elbow surgeries since reaching the majors, fails to rebound or re-injures himself in the future, the Dodgers could be in trouble.