The Game Changer: Boston – Land of the Red Sun, Sox

There has been an issue on my mind for the past few months now, but have only now been compelled to blog about – the $150 million man himself, Daisuke Matsuzaka.


What was the straw that broke the camels back you ask?

I recently received an email from one of my favorite area watering holes, Boston Beer Works, (As our managing director Tim Hurley says, “Now there’s something to put on the resume…”) promoting a new beer called Sanshin Ale:


Sanshin, the Japanese word for “Strikeout”, is an East-meets-West beer. Brewed with a blend of malt and rice, plus American and Japanese Sorachi Ace hops, then fermented with Sake yeast and American Ale yeast, make this medium bodied golden beer unique.”


A tasty sounding brew no doubt (how do you say “wicked good” in Japanese?), but it really got me thinking about how much things have changed around here since the arrival of the Gyro ball throwing righty.

Fenway Park has undergone an amazing transition this season to accommodate the Dice man. Dunkin Donuts, Avaya, even Lumber Liquidators are all changing their ads to include Japanese greetings. The Dunkin sign would be unrecognizable if it weren’t for the trademark pink and orange letters.

And something tells me we are going to see a lot more Japanese-themed product extensions in the near future as well. With the identity crisis that is Dunkin Donuts food (come on people, pizza and panini sandwiches?), I can see Rachel Ray pushing sushi for them soon, “Stop in now, because nothing goes better with a hot cup of hot Dunkin Donuts coffee like a fresh California Roll” ….it’s like peas and carrots right?

Then there was this article in the Boston Globe last month. If you didn’t happen to catch it, Japanese marketers are capitalizing on Dice K’s starts OUTSIDE of Boston. With Fenway commanding some of the highest advertising dollars in baseball, many Japanese companies are buying ad space in smaller market stadiums where he is pitching. Just two nights ago in Toronto, the usual “pizza pizza” ads on the backstop were replaced with a myriad of Japanese advertisements.  

Daisuke Matsuzaka is changing the game in sports sponsorship by creating a wealth of opportunity not only here in Boston, but nationally and internationally as well. It seems that everyone is reaping the returns from Theo Epstein’s bold move to put another quality arm in the rotation. While Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui (boo) were the first big name Japanese exports to play in the MLB, neither have matched Dice K’s impact on the game, as the first to really make baseball an international affair, for fans and marketers alike.


I think I’m turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so.


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