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July 08, 2005

Hal, Hank, Steve & The Future Of The Yankees

In The Record today:

The greatest gift George Steinbrenner enjoyed Monday — his 75th birthday — was a peek at the Yankees’ books. In a word, they (and The Boss) are loaded.


But there’s enough cash in the vault (and more where that came from) to keep Steinbrenner happy as long as he continues to own the team.

But as he said last week, retirement looms. There’s a debate among Yankee insiders as to whether Steinbrenner’s family will reap the massive windfall by selling. Business experts say the Yankees are worth close to $800 million today, and that bottom line could skyrocket to $1 billion in 2009 when the new stadium is completed.

That figure doesn’t include the stand-alone value of the YES Network, estimated at another $1 billion.

After the breakdown of sale talks with Cablevision several years ago, The Boss has developed a near-obsessive bond to the Yankees. He’s not selling, today or tomorrow or ever. But a person familiar with the club’s operations says Steinbrenner’s sons, Hal and Hank, “aren’t nearly as attached” to the idea of running a sports franchise.

Given the opportunity, insiders say, the younger Steinbrenners would sell the team upon their father’s death. That may explain why The Boss recently appointed his son-in-law, Steve Swindal, as his heir apparent. Under Swindal, who is married to Steinbrenner’s daughter, Jennifer, it’s much more likely the Yankees will remain in the family.

My biggest fear: After George, this thing becomes something like the Wellington and Tim Marra situation and it becomes so ugly and dysfunctional that it impacts the team in a negative way - and the Yankees become like the football Giants (meaning a team with a great and devoted fan-base, lots of revenue, but one that rarely has the best team in the league or wins).

Posted by Steve Lombardi at July 8, 2005 09:30 AM


Let's take this team one dysfunctional situation at a time. We'll worry about this when we get there. Knowing Steinbrenner, he'll be around into his nineties.

Posted by: Joel at July 8, 2005 11:34 AM

Or they're forced to sell to pay the inheritance tax. IIRC, it is zero in '09, but then returns in force for '10. George better have some damn good attorneys working on it.

Posted by: rbj at July 8, 2005 06:56 PM

Good point. I forgot about that. That was why Barry Halper sold all his baseball stuff, IIRC.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi at July 8, 2005 10:55 PM

I'm sure the Steinbrenner shares are in a trust and no tax will be owed until the team is sold. I don't think the inheritance tax will affect the team as long as it's done proper. I'm sure it has been, long ago

Posted by: Don at July 9, 2005 02:17 PM