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Shohei Ohtani’s record-setting $700 million deal makes two-way superstar highest paid athlete in North American sports history

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Shohei Ohtani put the sports world in a frenzy after he announced a deal to join the Los Angeles Dodgers Saturday afternoon. The reported contract, a 10-year deal worth $700 million, surpasses Mike Trout’s previous MLB record deal set in 2019 — 12-year, $426.5 million — and makes the Japanese two-way star the highest paid athlete in North American sports history.

Nez Balelo, Ohtani’s agent, helped strike the deal to land the two-time MVP with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“This is a unique, historic contract for a unique, historic player,” Balelo said in a statement after the deal was announced.

Ohtani landing with the Dodgers comes after a full MLB season of anticipation and an offseason filled with rumors spreading on social media. The Dodgers were previously reported to be favorites for the superstar, but finding an estimated value of the deal was difficult to pinpoint due to Ohtani’s unique skillset.

The average annual value of the deal, $70 million, is larger than the projected 2024 payroll of eight MLB franchises, according to Spotrac. The Guardians ($66.9M), Marlins ($66M), Royals ($65.5M), Brewers ($61.6M), Reds ($60M), Pirates ($54.2M), Orioles ($42.9M) and Athletics ($38.6M) currently have payrolls projected to be less than Ohtani’s average salary in 2024.

The new deal easily rewards Ohtani with the biggest contract in MLB history, pushing former teammate Trout to the No. 2 position. Ohtani’s new teammate, Mookie Betts, is owner of the third largest contract — 12-year, $356 million — and Yankees superstar Aaron Judge is fourth with his nine-year, $360 million deal. Padres infielder Manny Machado rounds out the top-five with an 11-year, $350 million deal.

Baseball’s newest megadeal caught the attention of athletes outside MLB and trumps monstrous deals in other leagues, too.

“Good Lord 10 years $700Ms,” Knicks forward Josh Hart wrote on X before adding an emoji.

“700M’s is crazy!! And he deserves ever Penny of that too! Sheesh,” Cleveland Cavaliers superstar Donovan Mitchell posted on X.

The three-time All-Star, who slashed .304/.412/.654 with 44 homers and 95 RBI, is the first player in North America to break the $70 million mark annually. The historic feat puts him atop a list of wealthy athletes dominated by NBA players. Behind Ohtani for the second-highest AAV is Milwaukee Bucks guard Damian Lillard. His two-year extension worth $121.8 million, which starts in the 2025-26 NBA season, will award him an AAV of $60.9 million. Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo ($59M) and Los Angeles’ Anthony Davis ($59M) have extensions that will pay them handsomely at the start of the 2025-26 season also. Boston’s Jaylen Brown ($57.7M) sits fifth with his megadeal that is set to kick in next season.

Ohtani now has more guaranteed money on his way than the largest guaranteed contracts in the NFL (Deshaun Watson — $230M), NBA (Brown — worth up to $304M) and NHL (Alex Ovechkin — $124M) combined. Ovechkin’s deal with the Washington Capitals was completed in 2020. Watson is currently in the second year of his five-year deal with the Cleveland Browns.

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