You'll hear a lot of pundits talk about the endorsement opportunities of the New York Yankees today, thanks to coming off last night. But the most intriguing money story is now, without a doubt, Hideki Matsui.
At 35, with bad knees and at an expensive free agent price for a DH, it had been assumed that Matsui wouldn't be back with the Yanks when his four-year, $52 million contract expired at the end of the year.
But one at least has to ask if putting together the postseason that he did, including his six RBI performance last night that helped him win World Series MVP, made him some more dough with another team or even made it more likely that he'd stay a Yankee?
For Matsui, it will probably come down to, you guessed it, money. It's why he respectfully non-committed to staying with the team after Fox's Chris Rose asked him last night if he'd stay in pinstripes. Like any smart player, it will depend on the offer, and for the most part, the Yankees star players don't take less to stay in the Bronx. Sure, Sabathia, Burnett and Teixeira wanted to be Yankees, but the Yanks also offered them the most money. The team payroll isn't what it is because its players take discounts. If the Yanks do present some type of offer, Matsui will have to weigh the salary along with the endorsement and merchandise opportunities of staying in New York. People might be more likely to buy a Matsui-signed World Series MVP baseball if he remains a Yankee.
So how much, if at all, should the Yankees offer Matsui? It starts by asking how valuable he is. The answer might shock you.
While it's hard to figure out exactly how many fans each Yankee brings into the game, Matsui's presence does guarantee some incremental revenue, mainly in the right field signage bought by Japanese companies, including the Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan's largest daily paper. Not many players can be directly correlated to sponsorship dollars like that.
Unfortunately, Matsui's greatest downfall as far as a contract goes is that the Yankees, despite being heavily watched in Japan because of him, don't receive more money. International television revenues are equally divided and so is merchandise.
That means that he could be adding millions to the Yankees value in Japan, but the team doesn't see any of it.
No matter where Matsui goes, it's a win-win for Major League Baseball in that an international player has been named the World Series MVP in the biggest market.
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