OTD: The Boss buys the New York Yankees for $10M. One of the biggest ROI's in the history of sports.
A glorious day in Yankees history. George Steinbrenner, aka The Boss, led a group to purchase the team in 1973, which would ultimately turn the franchise around and build one of the most valuable professional sports teams in the history of the world.
Photo: Daily News Archives
The story starts a few years prior actually. Back in 1964, well before Steinbrenner, CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System) purchased 80% of the Yankees for over $11 million.
Full disclosure, they weren't very good at owning a baseball team, and their near-decade of ownership were some of the darkest days in Yankees history. They recorded a losing season 1965, which was their first in 40 years, and the team finished last in the AL for the first time since 1912 a year later. The Yankees were trash, and it was time for CBS to try to escape from their investment.
Flash forward to 1973, where a 12-man group lead buy Michael Burke (who would serve as President) and George M. Steinbrenner. The paid $10M in cash, which was $3.2M shy of what CBS paid for the team all those years ago. Initially, Steinbrenner's investment was actually on around $168,000, or 2% ownership. But over the years, he gained majority shares from other members of the buying team. When he passed away in 2010, his ownership stakes was about 57%.
Based on the CPI Inflation Calculator, that $10M in 1973 would be worth $62,600,900.90. Today, the franchise has an estimated value of 5.25 billion U.S. dollars. The ROI on that number is absolutely insane.
Steinbrenner was the longest serving owner in Yankees history, and under his leadership, the team won 7 World Series and 11 American League Pennants. He was controversial and harsh at times, but he also made some of the biggest and best moves in the history of baseball. Those include signing marquee players like Catfish Hunter, Reggie Jackson, Alex Rodriguez, trading for Paul O'Neil and Tino Martinez, and hiring coach Joe Torre.
"Winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing," George Steinbrenner in 1998, after the Yankees won 114 games and a World Series
RIP to the Boss. Hopefully 2022 will bring the team back to the promise land.