Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani is scheduled to be a free agent following the 2023 season in which he’s expected to earn a contract upwards of $500 million attached to a long-term commitment. Off the field, he’s proving to be just as valuable after his latest deal with New Balance.
The 2021 Major League Baseball Most Valuable Player was recorded to have more than 17 brand endorsements this past year, topping New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge. Those allowed him to earn $20 million, before taxes, in added revenue.
He was recently signed to a one-year $30-million contract to avoid arbitration in the final year of his current contract, but according to Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times, Ohtani’s deal with New Balance is for the long haul:
The Angels’ two-way All-Star signed a long-term endorsement deal with New Balance, dumping Asics after an eight-year partnership. An announcement was made Tuesday morning.
Ohtani joins a growing list of MLB players to represent New Balance, becoming his second footwear brand as a professional athlete:
Ohtani had been signed with Asics, a Japanese sportswear company, since 2014 — his second year in the Nippon Professional Baseball league.
He continued working with Asics after jumping to Major League Baseball, where the outfitter doesn’t have a strong presence, and signing with the Angels before the 2018 campaign. Asics supplied him with signature cleats, gloves and cleats.
Also repping New Balance across a variety of sports is Kawhi Leonard, Raheem Sterling, Sadio Mane and Sydney McLaughlin. Ohtani is expected to work on multiple projects with the company, with the first being a limited edition pair of cleats:
The company said it would work with Ohtani “on a variety of campaigns across the brand” starting with a limited-edition 574 cleat that will launch for $120 in February as Ohtani prepares to represent Japan in the World Baseball Classic before the regular season.
Angels owner Arte Moreno should be first in line to retain Ohtani because once-in-a-generation players of his caliber on the open market is a dangerous game which is why their advantage to lock him up now, if possible, is their greatest and last advantage.
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Efforts to extend Ohtani have been unsuccessful up to this point, and now that a change in ownership for the foreseeable future is out of the question, hopes for a new chapter were quickly extinguished. However, Moreno gave the green light to add to their top-10 payroll with off-season additions.
Trading for Hunter Renfroe and Gio Urshela while signing Brando Drury, Carlos Estevez, Matt Moore and Tyler Anderson were among the moves that bolstered their roster from a pure talent standpoint. But the golden prize is Ohtani, and the elephant in the clubhouse is his contract status.
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