The economic impact of Shohei Ohtani (29-FA) has been enormous. It could even be higher if he switches teams in free agency this year.
“The economic impact of Ohtani, this year’s American League MVP, is estimated to be 50.4 billion yen (about 441 billion won),” Japanese media outlet Sports Hochi reported on Feb. 22. This is according to a calculation by Katsuhiro Miyamoto, a professor emeritus at Kansai University in Japan.
Ohtani was the unanimous winner of the BBWAA’s American League (AL) MVP balloting, which was announced on Sunday (July 17), with 30 first-place votes. This marks the second time in 2021 that a player has won unanimous MVP honors more than once in both major leagues.
It was a well-deserved honor for Ohtani, who batted .304 with 44 home runs, 95 RBI, 102 runs scored, 20 doubles, a .412 slugging percentage, a .654 on-base percentage, and a 1.066 OPS in 135 games for the Angels this season, and went 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA and 167 strikeouts in 132 innings pitched in 23 games. His Wins Above Replacement (WAR) ranked first overall according to both FanGraphs (9.0) and Baseball-Reference (10.0). This is a tremendous accomplishment for a player whose season ended prematurely with a torn UCL in his right elbow.
Ohtani, in particular, has become a tourist attraction in his own right. In April, the Los Angeles Times claimed that “Ohtani’s star power is turning the Angels into an international tourist attraction.” Fans from all over the world, including his native Japan, traveled to Angels Stadium to see him play. Fans came to the ballpark not only to watch, but also to buy merchandise such as jerseys and fans. At the time, a group of fans from Kyoto, Japan, came to the U.S. solely to see Ohtani, with no plans to visit other tourist attractions in Anaheim (where the Angels are based), Disneyland, and the beaches of California.
Prof. Miyamoto’s calculations reflected this. According to the media outlet, he came up with a figure of ¥4.9 billion ($42.8 billion) in salary and sponsorship deals, ¥1.6 billion ($14 billion) in souvenir sales in the U.S. and Japan, ¥1.2 billion ($10.5 billion) in tourism from Japan to the U.S. to see Otani, ¥6.9 billion ($60.3 billion) in broadcast rights, and ¥50.4 billion in other spillover effects. 토토사이트
“In 2021, when Ohtani won his first MVP award, the economic impact was 24 billion yen, and following last year’s 45.7 billion yen, it has been going ‘upward’ every year,” the media outlet said. In March of this year, the Japanese national team won the World Baseball Classic (WBC) behind Ohtani’s performance, which also generated an economic impact of 65.4 billion yen ($572.2 billion).