top of page

Ohtani Deal Brings ‘Key Man Clause’ To Athlete Contracts

Dec 15, 2023

An investment concept common to venture capital has made its way to athlete contracts.

Already unprecedented on multiple levels, including overall size and amount of deferrals, the $700 million Shohei Ohtani deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers also contains a “key man clause,” according to multiple reports. The two-way phenom has the ability to opt out of the contract if lead owner and chair Mark Walter or president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman are no longer with the Dodgers.

The provision means that not only did Ohtani choose the Dodgers in pursuit of his first World Series title, but he has also made a specific decision to align his professional future with Walter and Friedman.

“Key man clauses” are frequently seen in startups in which investors can back out of a deal, or are prohibited from supplying additional funding, if a company founder or president departs or cannot perform their duties. They also have some precedent among team coaches: Former Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon had such a clause connected to Friedman when the latter also was with the Rays.

Source: Front Office Sports

bottom of page