24 May 2012

Are the Steinbrenners really considering selling the Yankees?

Hal and Hank Steinbrenner
Could anyone imagine the New York Yankees not being owned by the Steinbrenners? Well the New York Daily News's Michael O'Keeffe and Bill Madden, who knows a little something about the Steinbrenners, reported today that sources have said that the ownership of the Yankees could put the team up for sale. Everybody within the Yankees, managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner, the youngest son of George Steinbrenner, a Cleveland shipping magnate who bought the team from CBS for $8.8 billion in 1973, called the piece "pure fiction," team president Randy Levine adamently denied the report, as did general manager Brian Cashman as well as Major League Baseball itself. Madden stands by the story, saying that there are "more than just rumors."

It just seems so surprising and shocking that the Steinbrenners would considering selling the most valuable team in baseball that under their family rule has led to seven World Series titles but are they? And should they?

Without question the sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers, with all the mess they have been through over the last few years, for over $2 billion plays a role in the Steinbrenners at least thinking about maybe selling. It has been estimated that the Yankees, with a cash cow of a team-owned regional sports network as well as a new stadium that brings in so much revenue plus a huge fanbase in the biggest city in the country, could be worth around $3 billion and perhaps even more. And considering the family bought the team for just $8.8 million way back when is just obscene amounts of profit.

Like I mentioned, the Steinbrenners and the Yankees go hand in hand. But there are questions about if Hal Steinbrenner has the same passion for the team as his father did as he rarely attends games and is certainly more smarter with doling out huge contracts than his father was or even his brother, Hank, who after approving the massive deal for Alex Rodriguez in 2008 has largely disappeared. And he's been said to be a really smart and shrewd businessman and he could see the ridiculous amount of money the family could get for the club and with thoughts that the team's value could be peaking with some of the known star players either retiring (Andy Pettitte, although he returned this year, and Jorge Posada) or heading into the twilight (Derek Jeter, Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera) plus the division getting really strong with young clubs like Tampa Bay, Baltimore and Toronto making waves, this could be the time.

But also, the value of the club could keep on going up, especially as the economy strengthens again and with values going up and up across sports. Plus the Steinbrenners must have a special place in their heart for the Bronx Bombers, after all, the partiarch was such an iconic figure with the club and loved the team so much. They could very well wish to keep the team in the family and have their children run it and so on.

Even if the Steinbrenners have no intention whatsoever of selling, you gotta assume that they see the dollar signs and at least have a second thought of the money they could get for the team, even for a minority share if they still wish to control the club. But of course, who really knows what the intentions of the family are. If someone put a gun to my head, I would guess the team stays in Steinbrenner hands. But we have learned to never discount the power of money.

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