Earlier today, Hal Steinbrenner denied reports from today’s edition of the New York Daily News indicating that he is considering putting a “For Sale” sign on the most lucrative franchise in sports.
One can’t really blame Steinbrenner, though, if he is contemplating a sale. He and his siblings inherited the New York Yankees in 2010 upon the death of their father, George Steinbrenner.
Because of a quirk in the 2010 tax law, the transfer incurred no inheritance tax. We are not likely to see a zero inheritance tax anytime soon, if ever.
The tax man must be paid. If the Yankees franchise is not sold as part of a sound tax strategy presently, then the next generation of Steinbrenners may be the ones forced to sell while vultures hover over Yankee Stadium looking for a discount tag written under the pressure of meeting a massive tax bill.
Earlier this year, the Los Angeles Dodgers fetched a purchase price in the neighborhood of $2 billion. That’s a pretty nice neighborhood for a franchise that hasn’t won a World Series since Ronald Reagan was in the waning months of his presidency. The Yankees will likely trigger a pricing of $3 billion or more.
Passing custody of the Yankees to a non-Steinbrenner will happen. Someday.
Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But it will happen. And when it does, the new ownership will trigger a revision of the “Sure Things” list that we once thought rested on bedrock.
Death. Taxes. A Steinbrenner at the helm of the New York Yankees.
Two out of three ain’t bad.