After signing Shohei Ohtani for next season, the Los Angeles Angels have instantly become championship contenders.
But there’s another advantage to this massive coup—they have a legitimate attraction on their hands that can drive ticket sales to the roof.
As USA Today columnist Bob Nightengale puts it, “Forget Disneyland, Angel Stadium is now the Happiest Place on Earth.
That’s certainly good news, especially since the attendance of the Angels has been on the downward spiral since 2009. From a high of over 40,000, the average attendance to the games this year has whittled down to a little over 37,000, said Statistica.
The Angels have a huge payroll of $1.34 billion, but could only manage to earn $312 in revenues in 2015, as reported by Forbes. In contrast, the New York Yankees pulled in over $500 million in that same span, granted with a $3.7 billion value.
Ohtani actually missed a $200 million sweepstakes had he waited two more years before signing with an MLB team. Instead, he got the minimum by signing with the Angels now. But his agent Nez Balelo said that his client “felt a true bond with the Angels.
“He sees this as the best environment to develop and reach the next level and attain his career goals,” the agent added.
Signing now for the minimum showed Ohtani’s character, the agent said. If anything, Ohtani has the opportunity to put to rest all the doubts before making the big payday about two years from now when he renews his contract.
There’s a large unknown surrounding Ohtani, particularly no how he recovered from the ankle and thigh injuries that forced him to sit down most of the games in the Nippon Baseball League last season. There’s also the question on how he will respond under a pressure cooker that is the MLB, which he pits his skills against the best in the world.