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Hal Steinbrenner Comments on Possibility of Selling New York Yankees

Apr 16, 2014; Hal Steinbrenner speaks at the press conference honoring Nelson Mandela plaque dedication at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman-The Star-Ledger
SL
Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistMarch 3, 2016

The Steinbrenner family has been synonymous with the New York Yankees since 1973, something managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner does not see changing anytime soon.   

In an interview this week with ESPN.com's Wallace Matthews, Steinbrenner said he expects the Yankees to remain in the family for many generations to come:

I think all of us feel that way. ... This is a family business, and we're all involved. We all love being a part of this. We all know our dad wanted us to be a part of us (sic), and we all know he's watching down on us and happy that we're all a part of it. Believe it or not, to us, that's a big deal. The idea is, let's keep it going.

Steinbrenner also confirmed there have already been discussions among the family to eventually have George Steinbrenner's grandchildren run the franchise: "We got a lot of grandkids, and they're very interested. The idea is, it's time to let the young elephants in the tent, in George's words. So it's begun."

There have been rumblings of the Yankees potentially being put up for sale virtually since George Steinbrenner died in 2010. 

In May 2012, Michael O'Keeffe and Bill Madden of the New York Daily News reported the Los Angeles Dodgers' sale seemed to pique the Steinbrenner family's interest in putting the Yankees on the market:

Multiple baseball and finance sources told the Daily News they are hearing that the team the Steinbrenner family has led to seven World Series titles could be put on the block in the wake of the record sale price of $2.175 billion the Los Angeles Dodgers went for in April."There has been chatter all around the banking and financial industries in the city for a couple of weeks now," one high-level baseball source told The News.

Hal Steinbrenner, 46, who inherited the team with his brother, Hank, after their father's death, said they want to keep control of the Yankees because it's their "way of keeping [their] dad's legacy alive."

The Yankees were sold to Steinbrenner in 1973 for a net cost of $8.8 million. The franchise has won seven World Series titles in the subsequent 43 years and become a sports juggernaut in the process. 

Matthews broached the topic of selling the Yankees with Steinbrenner because Forbes valued the franchise at $3.2 billion, tied with the Dallas Cowboys for No. 2 in all of sports. Given what his father paid for the team, that would be a nice return on investment. 

However, Steinbrenner said "it's all money that we don't really need."

While there's no doubt the Yankees would bring in a huge offer if the Steinbrenner family put them up for sale, they don't have any impetus to do so. They clearly aren't hurting for money, which was one reason the Dodgers were sold four years ago. 

The value of sports teams, especially in a market the size of New York, continues to go up. The Steinbrenners know they can wait a long time to put the franchise up for sale without risking any money. 

Business people will always explore options, but the marriage between the Steinbrenner family and the New York Yankees figures to continue for many years. 

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