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UPDATE: MLB issues a statement denying the Yankees sale rumors

May 24, 2012, 1:57 PM EDT

Image (1) yankee%20stadium.jpg for post 4012

UPDATE: Apparently the “Yankees could be sold” thing is a rumor so baseless that even MLB has issued a statement on the thing:

  “Major League Baseball has received no indications from any representatives of the New York Yankees or anyone else that the Club is for sale.”

So, in addition to the owners calling the news story “fiction,” there being no practical way for the team to be sold due to tax consequences and one of the writers of the article itself all but admitting it’s bull, the league has called it nonsense.

Good work, Daily News!  Please remember this the next time one of the people who work for you point at some internet writer and accuse them of ruining journalism.

9:01 AM: I tell ya, if George Steinbrenner were alive he’d be so mad at how the Yankees have been playing he’d get rid of the team! THE ENTIRE TEAM!

Rumors are flying in Major League Baseball and New York banking circles that the family that has owned Major League Baseball’s premiere franchise since Cleveland shipbuilder George Steinbrenner purchased the club for $8.8 million in 1973 is exploring the possibility of selling the Yankees.

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.

While it would seem to make decent financial sense to at least consider the possibility — if the Dodgers are worth a couple of billion the Yankees have to be worth more and, really, how much higher can franchise values go? — team president Randy Levine denied the rumors, saying that “there is absolutely, positively nothing to this.” Hal Steinbrenner called it “complete fiction.”

What’s more, the speculation in the article about it being a good time because the team is aging should probably be ignored. Because really, the value of the Yankees is not something that is going to crater or peak based on a ten-game swing of wins from one year to the rest. If they are ever sold it will be because someone is valuing them as an enduring entertainment and marketing brand, not as a team that, in a given year, may contend in the AL East.

That said, (a) if I was thinking of selling the team I wouldn’t admit it either; and (b) again, how much higher can franchise values climb?  If someone wanted to give you, I dunno, three billion for the Yankees, wouldn’t you be an idiot not to take it? That’s the likely source of this stuff — banker speculation and out-of-the-loop figurin’, not any real interest on the Yankees part to sell.

UPDATE: This seems to have less meat to it than a vegan cookout:

But hey, it’s fun to make stuff up too.  Also: Bill Madden of the Daily News is apparently on New York radio this morning being asked about it and people who are listening are saying that he’s all but saying it’s a b.s. story but is stopping just short given that, you know, his colleagues wrote it.  Oh, wait, his name is second on the byline.  Great job, Spink Award Winning Writer Bill Madden!

  1. uyf1950 - May 24, 2012 at 9:09 AM

    Probably closer to $4 billion plus if you throw in their 33% share of the Yes Network and their “other” sports interests.

    • number42is1 - May 24, 2012 at 9:19 AM

      I would be very doubtful that they would sell YES

      • uyf1950 - May 24, 2012 at 9:33 AM

        They may not want to but any prospective buyer would be foolish not to included it any purchase offer.

      • Kevin S. - May 24, 2012 at 12:20 PM

        Including the Yankee’s stake in YES adds at least a billion dollars to the purchase price. You talk about it like it’s a throw-in.

    • bigleagues - May 24, 2012 at 9:34 AM

      I agree with closer to $4Billion.

      But here is a thought to consider . . . for those that have been following it.

      The world financial crisis seems has been quelled by the narrative that we have seen signs of growth and recovery (now nearly 4 years removed from the mortgage bubble bursting) and seems to be headed toward that whip around back end death blow.

      The very same people that were warning of the 2008 collapse have been warning since then that the governments stabilization efforts amounted to little more than a band-aid on an open and festering wound that will only get worse unless we make serious efforts to change the system.

      With that in mind, and the potential long term uncertainty of the value and role of the dollar in the world economy, when it comes to cashing in for $3.5-$4.0 Billion on a $8.8 Million family investment . . . does it sound that preposterous a scenario?

      I don’t think so.

      And whats more is . . . if the Yankees do sell, you can bet your bottom dollar that John Henry and Company will soon follow that lead because the Yankees will have established the maximum market value. If their sale were to come in in the $3-$4 Billion range, and in light of the Dodgers sale, you would think the Red Sox would fall somewhere in the $2.5 to low $3 Billion range. And that would be right around a 300% return on their investment just 10 years ago.

      • dirtfrompeedysuniform - May 24, 2012 at 4:54 PM

        Will somebody please block this guy or at least limit him to 160 characters?

    • mianfr - May 24, 2012 at 1:40 PM

      The funny thing about $4 billion is that someone has to pay it. No one will even come close.

      Honestly, the fair value for the Yankees is probably right around the tag on the Dodgers… LA’s number was just so ridiculously inflated that you can’t level things up linearly.

      It’s like saying if Alfonso Soriano is getting $18M dollars this year to play like that, then Matt Kemp should be looking to strike on a deal with $60M AAV.

      • bigleagues - May 24, 2012 at 7:21 PM

        Players are a commodity and depreciate with age, wear and tear.

        Franchises are established brands with assets and the ability to appreciate in value due to a sustainable business model with lifetime customers.

        So, it’s nothing like Soriano’s salary vs. Kemp’s salary.

        And in that regard, the New York market is much larger than LA’s. The Yankees fan base is also much larger and more widespread.

        AND the Yankees already have a RSN with widespread distribution.

        In conclusion the Yankees are worth a lot more than the Dodgers.

        (And this is coming from a Red Sox fan).

      • mianfr - May 24, 2012 at 8:20 PM

        Yes, the Yankees are worth a lot more than the Dodgers, and $2B is a lot more than the Dodgers are worth.

    • pjmarn6 - May 24, 2012 at 4:59 PM

      Does it make an iota of difference?

  2. umrguy42 - May 24, 2012 at 9:14 AM

    “wouldn’t you be an idiot not to take it?”

    Well, if I didn’t have to sell it, and if I thought the person making the offer would be bad for the team, maybe not. (This of course, presumes that as an owner I’d have enough of a conscience or whatever left to still put the team and fans first. But I’d like to think I would.)

  3. atworkident - May 24, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    ESPN should invest in the Yankees. Without the Yankees and Red Sox they wouldn’t have much baseball to televise.

    • ravenscaps48 - May 24, 2012 at 9:55 AM

      Amen… I turn on ESPN and it’s nothing but Josh Beckett/Red Sox… I know it’s stationed in CT… But you guys don’t have to be HOMERS

      • bigleagues - May 24, 2012 at 10:42 AM

        Besides the fact that ESPN is a large media corporation made up of people from all over the United States (and the globe for that matter), has a major presence in New York City (note: not Boston) and owned by an even larger media conglomerate . . .

        . . . Bristol, CT is closer to NYC than Boston. And the Western third of the State where Bristol is located is decidedly the dominion of Yankees fans

        Just sayin.

      • paperlions - May 24, 2012 at 11:24 AM

        Simple. Don’t turn on ESPN. Aside from watching games or OTL, I have no idea why in the world anyone would turn on that channel.

      • aleskel - May 24, 2012 at 11:34 AM

        my word, it’s almost as if this massive profit-driven media conglomerate is interested in showing many games featuring two of the teams with the largest fan followings in the country in order to gain more viewership for their broadcasts!

      • Kevin S. - May 24, 2012 at 12:24 PM

        PTI is enjoyable.

      • chadjones27 - May 24, 2012 at 2:59 PM

        I thought ESPN was started by a bunch of bar owner’s who needed something that people could mindlessly stare at and not need sound while forking over money for beer after beer.
        Obviously I don’t think this, but, sounds reasonable.

      • bigleagues - May 24, 2012 at 7:27 PM

        Paperlions,

        SPOT on.

        Of course I had to watch the Celtics last night (although I almost wish I didn’t).

  4. whatthehellisansky - May 24, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    Lonn ‘F you – Pay me’ Trost and Randy ‘Money Bags’ Levine would start taking hostages inside Yankee stadium before they let the Yankees go up for sale. Those guys really run the business and they are more interested in the power they have and the perks they get bc of it than money they’d make by selling.

  5. cereal blogger - May 24, 2012 at 9:21 AM

    Are the Orioles for sale ?

  6. muskyhunter2542 - May 24, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    Nothing here…. Move along!

  7. mybrunoblog - May 24, 2012 at 9:29 AM

    Considering that the Dodgers went for insane $ it would not shock me if the Steinbrenner family just kicked the tires and explored how much $ the team is worth if they sold. Doesn’t mean they are selling. Lots of people call realtors and bank people to check on the value of their home, business or whatever.
    Doesn’t mean your gonna sell. Just curious.

  8. xmatt0926x - May 24, 2012 at 9:33 AM

    If the family does sell it would certainly leave Hank Steinbrenner more time to indulge in booze and broads. Has anyone thought of that?

  9. iranuke - May 24, 2012 at 9:35 AM

    With the economy and interest rates being what they are, to get comparable current income the price would probably have to be about $10 to $20 billion dollars.

  10. Ben - May 24, 2012 at 9:35 AM

    If valuation is based on revenue (and for baseball teams, who the hell knows if it is), in 2010 the Yankees’ revenue was $441 million, and the Dodgers’ revenue was 247 million. So theoretically that would double the Dodgers’ valuation. Which I don’t see happening. The Dodgers were already a massive overpay.

  11. yankeesfanlen - May 24, 2012 at 9:43 AM

    I think the tweet is most telling. There’s got to be debt subtracted from the sale price, then the net equity would be taxed to death.
    And Mark Cuban claims he doesn’t have the money- probably invested in Facebook.
    Curse the Dolans could buy it and make everyone’s Cablevision bill $400 a month

    • Ben - May 24, 2012 at 9:48 AM

      Mark Cuban is smart–if he invested in Facebook it was before the IPO, and then he unloaded first day.

  12. Old Gator - May 24, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    - How much more can you be worth? What can you buy with all that money?

    – The future, Mr. Gittes.

    • yankeesfanlen - May 24, 2012 at 9:59 AM

      Forget it, Jake. It’s RudyTown.

  13. pauleee - May 24, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    “…since Cleveland shipbuilder George Steinbrenner purchased the club for $8.8 million in 1973…”

    Isn’t that the sickest thing you ever saw? Do you think he had any idea at the time?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - May 24, 2012 at 11:43 AM

      IIRC, George mentioned that buying into the Yankees, according to George’s father, was the first smart [business] decision he had made up to that point.

      Not exactly Bill Cosby as a dad.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - May 24, 2012 at 11:52 AM

      Crazy – I think he knew he made a killer investment, but I wonder how much he actually expected his value to grow.

  14. skoobyfl - May 24, 2012 at 10:55 AM

    Maybe facebook could buy the yankees & turn 900 Million people into fans ?

  15. buffalomafia - May 24, 2012 at 10:59 AM

    George loved the minor league home of the Buffalo Bisons!

    Wait let me wake up! Buffalo still owes back pay to Buffalo firemen for last 5 years!

    We can’t afford a bb team?!

  16. sleepyirv - May 24, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    I would offer them a gazillion dollars. You know, try to lowball them.

  17. randygnyc - May 24, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    All wrong. George put together an investment syndicate to buy the Yankees. Believe it or not, his actual money investment was way below the 8 million dollars. According to all his biographies, George spent less than 200k of his own money.

  18. randygnyc - May 24, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    George’s granddaughter lives in my building in NYC. Young, single girl. Works for the Yankees too. Between their extended families/in laws, I’d bet there are a hundred or so that work for the yanks.

  19. sabatimus - May 24, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    “This seems to have less meat to it than a vegan cookout”

    Truer words were never uttered.

  20. charlutes - May 25, 2012 at 8:27 AM

    Just because its worth billions now, how do you jump to the conclusion that the team won’t be worth more in the future. This seems like a random and very incorrect assertion, based on the history of team values and inflation.

  21. charlutes - May 25, 2012 at 8:29 AM

    The only correct answer to how high can a franchise value go? How much time you got?

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