Shohei Ohtani and Lionel Messi: MLB Exec Highlights Stars’ Marketability Ahead of Free Agency Move

Shohei Ohtani and Lionel Messi: MLB Exec Highlights Stars’ Marketability Ahead of Free Agency Move

Joel Reyes
updated at November 21, 2023 at 2:42 PM
In this article:
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Inter Miami CF logoFArgentina logo
  • Shohei Ohtani is primed to sign the biggest contract in MLB history this winter
  • The Japanese star’s value comes from his superb two-way play and marketability
  • An MLB executive likened Ohtani’s upcoming move to Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami switch

The Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes is heating up, with the Japanese superstar expected to sign a contract north of $500 million for his new MLB deal.

He is the modern-day Babe Ruth, excelling both on the mound and at the plate as the league’s only two-way player.

His marketability makes him so valuable for teams, with an American League executive comparing Ohtani’s impending move this winter to Lionel Messi’s transfer to the United States.

Shohei Ohtani, Lionel Messi, MLB, Inter Miami, Los Angeles Angels, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers
Shohei Ohtani poses for a photo with his dog prior to winning the 2023 AL MVP Award; Lionel Messi holds the Ballon d'Or trophy during a presentation. Images: Emma Sharon/ Megan Briggs.
Source: Getty Images

Ohtani to have same impact as Messi

The unnamed source told The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal why that is the case, saying:

"Look at the example of Messi in Miami. I think Ohtani is the same model."

Messi moved to Inter Miami last June, helping transform the fortunes of a club with the worst attendance in Major League Soccer.

He improved Inter Miami’s quality on the pitch, leading the Herons to the Leagues Cup title in his first tournament with the club.

Inter Miami’s games were also sold out, with fans desperate to see one of football’s greatest players live.

The team that will sign Ohtani this winter will undoubtedly get a ratings boost and an increase in ticket sales.

Ohtani's new team will earn big bucks

Bruce Levine shared some information on 670 The Score’s Inside the Clubhouse, per, on how much money Ohtani will bring to the team that gets him.

A source with the Los Angeles Angels, Ohtani’s former club, told Levine that the baseball star “is worth $100 million in revenue for a team that has him.”

That amount is yearly, meaning a team will earn around a billion dollars if they sign Ohtani to a 10-year deal this winter.

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Ohtani crowned AL Home Run king

Sports Brief recently reported on Ohtani’s home run pace in the 2023 MLB season.

The two-way star finished with 44 homers to win the American League home run title for the first time.

He is the first Japanese player to win the home run title in Major League Baseball.

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Joel Reyes
Joel Reyes is a sports editor at with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of the Philippines. He has eight years of work experience in sports writing.