December 30, 2006


Dice-K is already pitching for Sox -- in Japanese ads: Team hopes to exploit star's power to gain marketing clout over there (Keith Reed, December 30, 2006, Boston Globe)

Newly minted Red Sox hurler Daisuke Matsuzaka donned a Red Sox uniform to make his latest pitch in Japan.

The Japanese baseball star, also known as "Dice-K," who the Sox paid $103 million to acquire has recorded a Japanese commercial hawking Asahi Super Dry beer, fully dressed in Red Sox regalia, showing that his star power in the Far East has already lent marketing clout to his new team. The endorsement happened without the involvement of the Red Sox, under rules that give Major League Baseball control over the team's trademarks outside New England .

Those rules aside, Sox executives believe there is a big market in Japan and locally for endorsements involving the team and Matsuzaka, and that their new pitcher will boost the team's popularity in Japan past that of a certain pinstripe-wearing rival with a Japanese player of its own.

"We want to be the team of Japan. The Yankees are very popular over there because of [Hideki] Matsui, but now we think we can get in over there as well," said Sam Kennedy , the Red Sox' senior vice president of sales and marketing. Matsui , the left fielder the New York Yankees snagged in 2003 from Japan, remains popular there and has several endorsement deals.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 30, 2006 12:00 AM
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