TORONTO — While baseball star Shohei Ohtani's decision not to sign with the Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend has left fans wondering what might have been, one sports economist says team owner Rogers Communications Inc. is better off for having struck out.
Ohtani said Saturday he'd be signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers, with reports indicating his deal is worth a record US$700 million over 10 years, after a courtship process in which the Blue Jays were among the final suitors.
Off the field, some who study the business of sport were bullish on the potential payoff of such a deal for Rogers, saying the increased sales of tickets and merchandise could justify his salary.
But Concordia University's Moshe Lander says that despite all the hype, Rogers dodged a bullet and that some of the potential boons for the company were overplayed.
While the company could have raked in added revenue through advertising, especially given Ohtani's significant following in his native Japan, he says that wouldn't have been enough to offset the massive financial commitment for one player.
Others say Ohtani's presence in Canada would have opened new doors for Rogers due to the level of global attention he receives as a unique two-way pitching and hitting threat when healthy.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 11, 2023.
Companies in this story: (TSX:RCI.B)
Sammy Hudes, The Canadian Press