50 Most Marketable 2012 - Yu Darvish
Yu Darvish - Japanese/Iranian, 25, Baseball (46)
Yu Darvish has, at last, arrived. After months, even years, of speculation, a US$60 million, six-year contract was signed in January to bring Darvish to Major League Baseball (MLB) with the Texas Rangers. Once fees to the pitcher’s former team Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters were factored in, the overall cost to the Rangers reached an eyewatering US$111 million.
It was, however, a price worth paying for the franchise, who have not only acquired a very talented player – widely regarded as the best to come out of Japan for some time – but also significant commercial opportunities that stretch far beyond MLB’s North American borders.
Darvish is nothing short of a superstar in his homeland and the Rangers already claim to have done at least three seven-figure Darvish-related deals, rather proving the theory. Darvish himself had his first US deal, a multi-year agreement with Topps trading cards, signed and sealed even before he made his MLB debut in April.
As he finds his feet in the high-intensity world of US pro sports, Darvish can call upon the experience of agent Arn Tellem from Wasserman Media Group.
With a growing profile in the United States and continuing popularity in his homeland – there were six Japanese TV crews and nearly one hundred Japanese journalists present for Darvish’s first Spring Training as a Ranger – Tellem is likely to be a very busy man over the coming months and years.
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