The Shohei Ohtani Effect: Dodgers ticket prices are soaring, both home and away

As Shohei Ohtani and the Dodgers’ band of traveling all-stars prepares to play its opening show next week, the Dodgers are well on their way toward their self-proclaimed goal of painting Japan in Dodger blue.

Of every five tickets StubHub has sold to Dodgers games this year, one has been bought by a fan in Japan, the company said Friday. That goes beyond the tickets sold in packages by Japan’s largest travel agency.

The Dodgers have led the major leagues in attendance for 10 consecutive years, but the signing of Ohtani amid his emergence as a global star has wildly accelerated sales — and prices — of tickets to see the Dodgers this year.

“I wasn’t around the Beatles,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I wasn’t around Michael Jordan, or the Lakers in the ‘80s. But I think that what we’re coming up upon is going to be close to that.

“I think it’s great for sports. I think it’s great for baseball. And I think it’s great for the Dodgers. There’s a lot of eyeballs on us. It’s going to be a fun season.”

StubHub said it has sold more tickets for the Dodgers than for any other major league team this season. The Dodgers ranked eighth on StubHub’s list this time last year.

The Dodgers are the best-selling team for road games, the company said. And, not counting home openers, of the 10 major league games driving the most StubHub ticket sales, six involve the Dodgers — including three of the top four (two games at Yankee Stadium and one at Wrigley Field).

As of Thursday, according to StubHub, the average price to see the Dodgers on the road: $122; to see the Dodgers play at Yankee Stadium June 8: $211; to see the Dodgers’ home opener: $533.

Ohtani’s impact on MLB ticket sales might be fairly compared to the impact of another global star, Lionel Messi, on ticket sales in Major League Soccer, according to StubHub spokesman Adam Budelli. Ticket sales are way up, and so are the prices for those tickets.

“Messi certainly has changed the entire narrative of MLS in terms of ticket sales and interest,” Budelli said. “(This is) very similar with international sales exploding across the league, as fans are traveling in to see him.”

Japan has replaced the United Kingdom as the top international market for StubHub. Of the MLB tickets bought by Japanese fans last year, 70% were for games featuring the Angels — the team for which Ohtani played last season.

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