MarketWatch First Take
Yes, New York Yankees should be sold5/24/12 10:21 AM ET (MarketWatch)Print
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- This is the right time for the Steinbrenner family to sell the New York Yankees -- and not because the team has been lackluster this year on the field.
The Yankees could fetch a record price for a baseball franchise. Remember, the just-sold Los Angeles Dodgers commanded about $2.17 billion, the current high-water mark.
The Bronx Bombers, based on the value of such properties as the lucrative Yes cable-television network and the Yankee Stadium (the new stadium opened its doors in 2009), would be expected to top that figure.
The New York Daily News upended the sports world Thursday with a piece suggesting that the world's most famous baseball team might be up for sale. "Rumors are flying" about a sale in baseball and investment banking circles, the paper said.
Meanwhile, the speculation is sending a seismic jolt through Major League Baseball and New York City. The Steinbrenners have owned the Yankees since 1973, when the family took the then-tarnished asset off the hands of CBS for approximately $9 million.
George Steinbrenner, the team's often bombastic leader, was the most successful owner in baseball, if not any American team sport, during his reign. Under his direction, the Yankees won seven World Series titles, the last coming in 2009.
After George Steinbrenner died in 2010, the team came under the control of his two sons, Hal and Hank. Yankee President Randy Levine told the Daily News, "There is absolutely, positively nothing to this. The Steinbrenners are not selling the team."
Levine's statement, however, likely won't put out the flames. This story is just too juicy to go away quietly.