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Thursday, Aug 21st

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Yankees on the market? Daily News says yes, Steinbrenner says no

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New York Yankees

Hal Steinbrenner is denying a New York Daily News report that the New York Yankees, in the wake of the $2B sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers, may be headed for a sale.

It's really a simple matter: The Daily News is reporting that the Steinbrenner family has been exploring the possible value of the team, Yankee Stadium and its stake in the YES Network:

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.

Several facts would indicate there's something to what the News is reporting. First, it makes sense: with the Dodgers establishing a baseline for any similar sale (though there's not as much upside with the Yankees and the Dodgers; the Yanks already have a topline media contract), the Steinbrenners would be foolish not to at least explore a valuation of the franchise and its assets, which could run as high as $5 billion. Second, Hal and Hank Steinbrenner reportedly aren't around the ballpark much these days. 

Still, there are a few holes in the Daily News reporting, which would indicate their sources aren't exactly high up in the finance food chain. The unnamed sources spend a lot of time discussing the value of the team being tied to the team's fate on the field. Anyone who knows anything about sports-franchise valuation knows there's not a direct connection between winning and franchise value: if that were true, the Tampa Bay Rays would be one of the most highly valued franchises in Major League Baseball, and we don't need Forbes to know that's not the case.

In any case, Hal Steinbrenner is flatly denying the sales talk.

"I just learned of the Daily News story. It is pure fiction," Steinbrenner said in a statement. "The Yankees are not for sale. I expect that the Yankees will be in my family for many years to come." OK, then.

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