What is the biggest contract in sports history? Comparing Shohei Ohtani's blockbuster Dodgers deal with landmark signings

Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels
Comparing Shohei Ohtani's blockbuster Dodgers deal with landmark signings

Shohei Ohtani's highly-anticipated free agency saga is over, with the Los Angeles Dodgers signing him to a humongous contract that sent shockwaves through the baseball world. The two-way phenom signed a 10-year, $700 million, all guaranteed, contract with the Dodgers.

This deal has surpassed previous professional sports contracts, setting a new benchmark in the league and world of sports. Just to put things into perspective, Ohtani's contract value surpasses the combined contract value of Bryce Harper (13-year, $330 million) and Aaron Judge (nine-year, $360 million).

The previous best MLB signing was of Mike Trout, who signed a 12-year, $426.5 million contract in 2019 with the Los Angeles Angels. In professional sports, the contract surpassed Argentinian football star Lionel Messi's four-year, $674 million contract with FC Barcelona in 2017.

Earlier in July 2023, Messi signed a contract with Inter Miami that would pay him close to $60 million per year, including his salary, owning a stake in Inter Miami, and signing bonus.

“This is a unique, historic contract for a unique, historic player," Ohtani’s agent, Nez Balelo of CAA Sports, said. “He is excited to begin this partnership, and he structured his contract to reflect a true commitment from both sides to long-term success." [via The Guardian]

This contract, worth $70 million annually, will make Ohtani sit on top of the world's highest-earning athletes.

Shohei Ohtani bids adieu to former team

The last 30 hours of Ohtani's free agency closure lived up to expectations, with a tint of drama around it. Several misguided reports claimed that the AL MVP was on a flight to Toronto, possibly signing with the Blue Jays. However, Ohtani's announcement on Instagram put those rumors to bed.

Shohei Ohtani took to social media to announce that he'll be heading to the Dodgers next season. In a heartfelt post with the Dodgers logo, he apologized for taking so long to announce his next destination and bid adieu to his former club, the Los Angeles Angels.

During his six seasons with the Angels, Shohei Ohtani compiled 681 hits, 171 home runs, 437 RBIs, and 428 runs scored with a .274 batting average. He has two MVP honors, a Rookie of the Year, and two Silver Slugger awards.

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Edited by John Maxwell