Can the Angels promote their on-field product enough to convince Shohei Ohtani to stay?

March 28 2023

The Los Angeles Angels’ promotional calendar is filled with Shohei Ohtani-themed merchandise, including bobbleheads, T-shirts, tote bags, blankets, and puzzles, offered to fans at home games until July 1. Despite no official word on Ohtani’s departure, there’s uncertainty surrounding his future with the team as he becomes eligible for free agency after the season.

The Angels, who haven’t had a winning record since Ohtani’s debut in 2018, made efforts to bolster their roster in the offseason, aiming to not only change their narrative but also provide Ohtani, potentially a record-breaking player with a half-billion-dollar contract, a compelling reason to stay.

The cautious approach to promotions is in line with business and marketing strategies. Jay Deutsch, CEO and founder of Bensussen Deutsch & Associates (BDA), emphasized that MLB teams must carefully plan player-themed promotions, considering factors like contract status and performance to avoid awkward situations if players are traded mid-season.

Ohtani already generates substantial revenue for the Angels through advertising and marketing agreements, making it vital for the team to secure his future. However, sponsors may be hesitant due to the uncertainty of Ohtani’s tenure beyond 2023.

Ultimately, Ohtani’s decision to stay or leave will depend on his desire for a winning team, but the Angels have taken steps to improve their roster in the hopes of keeping their two-way star and potentially returning to the playoffs.

Original story published in Los Angeles Times.