Every way Shohei Ohtani's $700 million deal shattered sports history

Shohei Ohtani is joining the Los Angeles Dodgers in free agency.

What did it cost? Everything $700 million.

It needs to be said again: 70% of a billion dollars, for one player, over the course of a decade. To say the deal shatters the MLB record for largest contract and largest average annual value is to understate the effect this deal could have. With one stroke of the pen, Ohtani will reset what we thought was possible in sports economics.

The one caveat to all of this is that the deal contains massive deferrals, which lower the actual value of the deal to inflation. Of course, $700 million is a nice, round number, but those are rarely real in contracts this big.

Here is a list of every way Ohtani's deal will bend what we know about the intersection of sports and money.

Ohtani's deal is the largest known contract in sports history

Baseball is well known for having the biggest deals, but that's only in North America.

The world of soccer had been seeing bigger money flow for years, and we know by just how much thanks to the efforts of a) Lionel Messi and b) Saudi Arabia. Messi's leaked $674 million contract with FC Barcelona was previously the largest known contract in all of sports — until Ohtani brought that title back to baseball.

Dodgers cement most expensive free agency in MLB history — with 1 guy

Before Saturday, the most a team had ever spent in one offseason's free agency was set by the Texas Rangers, when they brought in Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Jon Gray and more in 2021. The total price then came out to around $580 million, which paid off with their World Series title this year.

The Dodgers broke that record with one contract.

Ohtani's deal is worth more than those of his 2 highest-paid teammates combined

Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman are the Dodgers' two biggest stars under contract (Clayton Kershaw is currently a free agent). Their two deals ($365 million for Betts and $162 million for Freeman) are worth a combined $527 million.

The Dodgers could sign another top free agent — say, Yoshinobu Yamamoto — to a $173 million deal and have their second-, third- and fourth-largest contracts be worth as much as Ohtani's deal.

There is not a single team with which Ohtani could've signed that deal and not had it be larger than the team's next two biggest contracts. The San Diego Padres had the largest combo, with Manny Machado ($350 million) and Fernando Tatis Jr. ($340 million).

Ohtani's deal costs about a third of what the Dodgers cost

Back when the Guggenheim group bought the Dodgers from the McCourts, the $2 billion price inspired sticker shock across the sport.

Ohtani's deal is worth 35% of that value now.

Ohtani's AAV is larger than 4 current MLB payrolls

The Dodgers exist on a different financial plane than most teams, thanks to their large market, very large television deal and the largest stadium in MLB by seating capacity, but Ohtani's deal underscores how big that gap is.

His $70 million average annual value puts Ohtani ahead of the current projected 26-man payrolls of the Cincinnati Reds ($67.5 million), Kansas City Royals ($67.2 million), Pittsburgh Pirates ($49.2 million) and Oakland Athletics ($33.9 million), per Cot's Contracts.

It should be noted that those teams receive plenty of money by virtue of league payments and revenue sharing. They could also very well increase those numbers over the rest of the offseason.

Shohei Ohtani will be paid $700 million by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Shohei Ohtani is an incomprehensibly wealthy man. (Bruno Rouby/Yahoo Sports)

Ohtani's deal is nearly worth more than the previous largest MLB, NFL and NBA free-agent deals combined

Most of the largest deals ever signed in the world of sports are contract extensions, as in the cases of the previous largest MLB contract (Mike Trout), NFL contract (Patrick Mahomes) and NBA contract (Jaylen Brown).

If you look at just the largest free-agent deals, though, things get pretty hilarious. The previous largest MLB deal signed on the open market was Aaron Judge's $360 million pact to return to the Yankees. The NFL equivalent is Lamar Jackson at $260 million, and the NBA's is Kevin Durant at $194 million.

Add those together, and it's $814 million. Ohtani got 86% of that.

Ohtani's deal will cost more than all but two MLB stadiums

Until Saturday, the biggest expense every MLB team had to deal with was stadium construction. Ohtani has managed to single-handedly eclipse all but two of the league's current stadiums (Yankee Stadium and Globe Life Field).

As a matter of fact, Dodger Stadium cost $23 million in 1960s dollars. Adjust for inflation, and that number doesn't even crack $300 million. The most recent renovation did cost $100 million, though.

Ohtani's deal will cost more more than every Andrew Friedman Rays payroll combined

The man in charge of negotiating this Ohtani deal would've been Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. Before joining the Dodgers in 2014, Friedman was the general manager of the notoriously frugal Tampa Bay Rays.

How frugal? If you combine every payroll from the time Friedman joined the team as director of baseball development in 2004 to when he left in 2014, all 11 of those teams come in lower than Ohtani's single deal.

Ohtani's deal outweighs the valuations of 6 NHL teams

If the Dodgers' owners had missed out on Ohtani, they could've used the money to buy any of a half-dozen NHL teams.

According to last year's Forbes' NHL valuations, six teams (the Winnipeg Jets, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Buffalo Sabres, Florida Panthers and Arizona Coyotes) are worth less than $700 million. The Vegas Golden Knights cost $500 million in expansion fees, while the Seattle Kraken cost $650 million.

Ohtani's deal contains more money than the entire payroll of nearly every women's sports league

The Dodgers' owners could've also apparently bankrolled nearly the entirety of women's professional sports for the year. According to the math of GOALS' Caroline Fitzgerald, Ohtani's contract is worth more than the entire annual payrolls of the WNBA, NWSL, Athletes Unlimited, WTA, LPGA and PWHL combined.