SBD/May 24, 2012/Franchises

Hal Steinbrenner Denies Reports That Family Could Look To Sell Yankees

Hal Steinbrenner denied sale rumors, called the N.Y. Daily News' story "complete fiction"
Yankees Managing General Partner & co-Chair Hal Steinbrenner today "issued a strong statement" denying a N.Y. Daily News story suggesting the family could explore selling the Yankees, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSPORTS.com. Hal Steinbrenner: "I just read the 'Daily News' story. It is complete fiction. Me and my family have no intention to sell the Yankees and expect it to be in the family for years to come." Heyman writes Yankees President Randy Levine this morning "painted a picture of the story being so far from the truth it barely deserved a serious response." Levine said that the picture of Hal Steinbrenner "lacking interest in baseball or the team is absurd." Levine: "He is very enthusiastic. He's been managing partner three years. He won the World Series once, got to the ALCS once and we're here now. He doesn't have George [Steinbrenner's] personality, but nobody does'' (CBSSPORTS.com, 5/24).

INITIAL REPORT: In N.Y., O'Keeffe & Madden report rumors are flying in MLB and N.Y. banking circles that the Steinbrenner family "is exploring the possibility of selling the Yankees." Multiple baseball and finance sources said that the Yankees "could be put on the block in the wake of the record sale price" of $2.175B the Dodgers went for in April. Sources said that the sale of the Dodgers is "just one reason why the Steinbrenner family may be looking to sell the team, which experts estimate could be worth up to" $3B. Another factor fueling the speculation is the fact that Hal Steinbrenner "doesn’t seem to share his father’s passion for baseball, and his brother, Hank, has virtually disappeared from the baseball landscape since he approved" a 10-year, $275M contract for 3B Alex Rodriguez before the '08 season. Hal Steinbrenner "rarely attends games, and according to those who know him, abhors doling out the huge money long-term contracts such as the Rodriguez deal." The source said, “Hal’s a smart businessman. And I’m just not sure that he considers baseball to be a smart business." One source said that there is "no reason for Hal, Hank, Jessica, the GM of the family’s stable in Ocala, Fla., and Jennifer to hang on to the team other than the prestige" of owning the Yankees. The source said, "Hal hates the players, and he hates the media" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/24).

JUST THINK ABOUT IT: In N.Y., Mike Lupica writes Hal Steinbrenner is a "very smart guy, which means smart enough to see and know that the landscape of baseball is changing." What he "has to see, as clearly as anybody, is that you can no longer buy your way to the World Series." The Yankees may "well stay in the Steinbrenner family forever." Lupica: "But believe me, if the O’Malley family can sell the Dodgers, the Steinbrenner family can sell the Yankees. Or at least be allowed to have a conversation about that." If the Steinbrenners "are thinking about selling, despite the loud and angry and predictable denials that such a thing could ever happen, and it’s an insult to their father’s memory for a newspaper like this one to even suggest a thing like that could ever happen, maybe that is business every bit as brilliant as George Steinbrenner showed you 40 years ago when he bought the Yankees." Lupica: "We constantly hear about the value of the Yankees. ... Ultimately, though, bottom line on that, it only matters if you sell. And if the Dodgers can sell for $2 billion, what are Steinbrenner’s Yankees worth once people start fighting over them? So why wouldn’t they at least think about it?" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/24). Also in N.Y., O'Keeffe & Red name potential buyers for the Yankees, and include Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban on the list. However, Cuban said that he "won't make a run" for the team. Cuban: "After the Dodgers sale, I couldn't afford it" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/24).
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