Japanese Fans Pay Premium for Dodgers Star Ohtani's Merch

Global icon Ohtani ignites merchandise craze among fans.

by Nouman Rasool
Japanese Fans Pay Premium for Dodgers Star Ohtani's Merch
© Chris Coduto/Getty Images

Shohei Ohtani, the Los Angeles Dodgers' sensation, has taken Major League Baseball by storm, capturing the hearts of fans worldwide, particularly in Japan. His stellar performance has not only garnered attention in his home country but also following a recent visit, has broadened his fanbase in South Korea.

Despite his international acclaim, it is in Japan where his fans exhibit unmatched loyalty, going to great lengths and paying top dollar for his merchandise.

Ohtani Merch Fever

Ohtani's journey to stardom began long before his days with the Dodgers, but it is the Dodgers' merchandise, especially items adorned with Ohtani's name and number, that fans in Japan are eagerly collecting.

The fervor for Ohtani's Dodgers jerseys and caps, recognizable by their signature blue, has reached new heights, with fans willing to pay a premium for items associated with the star. While a standard Dodgers cap retails for around $42, identical to other MLB team caps, those seeking a cap featuring Ohtani's autograph and his number, 17, can expect to pay upwards of $150.

The price of Ohtani's jerseys soars even higher, reaching a staggering $510. This surge in demand has significantly boosted sales in several Japanese stores, with merchandise ranging from keychains to cell phone covers also being snapped up by eager fans.

The most dedicated of Ohtani's supporters don't balk at the chance to own more personal memorabilia; a used Ohtani baseball bat commands a price of $22,000, while his glove can fetch $13,400. Despite these hefty price tags, fans remain undeterred, eager to showcase their admiration for their favorite player.

In other news, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced that Ohtani is poised to commence his training program soon, with sights set on a 2025 pitching return. Though Ohtani has yet to start throwing, the program will kick off following the team's series in Seoul.

The 29-year-old, recovering from his second right elbow procedure last September, will initially serve as the team's designated hitter and possibly play in the outfield. The Dodgers are scheduled to face the San Diego Padres on March 20 and 21, before heading back to the States for the regular season, where fans eagerly anticipate Ohtani's continued impact both on and off the field.