NEW YORK, May 24 (UPI) -- The New York Yankees Thursday denied a report that the team could be put up for sale.
Statements by top team officials came in response to a New York Daily News story that quoted sources saying the Steinbrenner family might put the team up for sale in hopes of a big payday after the Los Angeles Dodgers sold for a record $2.175 billion.
The Yankees franchise has been under the control of the Steinbrenner family since 1973, when the late George Steinbrenner led a group of investors that purchased the team for $8.8 million. The Steinbrenner family has led the Yankees to seven World Series titles.
General partner Hal Steinbrenner, George's younger son, said in a statement Thursday morning: "I just read the Daily News story. It is complete fiction. Me and my family have no intention to sell the Yankees and expect it to be in the family for years to come."
Yankees President Randy Levine also denied rumors about a possible sale.
"I can say to you there is absolutely, positively nothing to this. The Steinbrenners are not selling the team," Levine said.
The Daily News said experts estimate the team could be worth as much as $3 billion.
"It would definitely be the right time for the family to sell," a baseball source familiar with matters involving the league's owners told the News. "The value of the team couldn't be higher, but at the same time, it's an older team in a division with younger teams getting better at the same time a lot of the Yankees' core veterans are starting to go into decline."
Hal Steinbrenner has indicated he wants to lower the team's payroll.