The Yankees, an empire that has made school

At the end of the game, the stadium is filled with the notes of “New York New York” and the fans in the stands sing the chorus to frame Sinatra’s voice. The Yankees are one of the symbols of the Big Apple and their stadium the emblem of the rebirth of a neighborhood, the Bronx, but also of a winning business model.

An ocean away and in the parallel world of another sport, the Steinbrenner family, owners of the American baseball team, must have seen the opportunity to give Milan that leap in quality on the model of the NY Yankees, one of the sports clubs most successful in the world with eighteen division titles, forty conference titles and for 27 of the World Series. Sports results, however, are only the foundations on which George Steinbrenner has built since 1973 a complex of activities valued by Forbes today around the 6 billion dollars. An valuation to which sports activities contribute for 1.338 billion, the stadium for 1.030 billion, the brand for 843 million and the rest of the activities related to the city and other initiatives for 2.789 billion dollars.

A value that continues to grow, if we consider that in 2013 alone it was equal to 2.3 billion and that in the last year it recorded an increase of 14% despite the pandemic having heavily weighed on the revenues and profitability of the group in the last two years. : so much so that the turnover of 683 million in 2019 collapsed the following year to 108 million, to recover to 471 million in 2021. The operating result, positive for 35 million in 2019, remained negative for 40 million also in 2021 (after the loss of 190 million in 2020).

The Yankees model

Beyond the numbers, however, the Yankees have become a case study for George Steinbrenner’s ability to redesign the business model of a sports team. In a typical American story, the billionaire roped the baseball team in 1973 for $ 10 million from the Columbia Broadcasting System. In reality, his investment was quite paltry: $ 168,000 for 2%. When he died in 2010, Steinbrenner bequeathed 57% of the company to his family and a diverse group that grew in parallel with sporting achievements.

In business administration courses, the metaphor of the gas station is used to make people understand how the American entrepreneur has been able to profit from the hidden value of the New York team. Steinbrenner realized that sporting events were only gasoline (i.e. the durable but not very profitable asset) on which to build the sale of cigarettes (which bring reasonable turnover and margins) and soft drinks (excellent volumes and much higher margins). . From the purchase of the Yankees, therefore, the entrepreneur has developed the strategy by expanding the field to the sale of “cigarettes” (catering, merchandising, licenses, stadium rentals) and “soft drinks” (the cable network that is worth more than the same Yankees).

The Yankees, an empire that has made school