"I just learned of the Daily News story. It is pure fiction," Steinbrenner said in a statement. "The Yankees are not for sale. I expect that the Yankees will be in my family for many years to come."
The Daily News reported on Thursday that rumors are circulating in Major League Baseball and New York banking circles that Steinbrenner's family is exploring the possibility of selling the franchise.
Yankees president Randy Levine denied the suggestion to the Daily News, telling the newspaper, "I can say to you there is absolutely, positively nothing to this. The Steinbrenners are not selling the team."
The newspaper cited sources speaking on the condition of anonymity that the April sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers for a record price of $2.175 billion would suggest that it is a good time for the Steinbrenners to sell the franchise.
Major League Baseball responded on Thursday by releasing a statement saying that it has received no indications from any representatives of the Yankees or anyone else that the club is for sale.
At no time have the Steinbrenners made public statements that would convey a willingness to part with the franchise, which was purchased by a group headed by George M. Steinbrenner in 1973 for the price of $8.8 million.
Hal Steinbrenner has said, however, that the Yankees hope to decrease their payroll below $189 million for the 2014 season to take advantage of benefits provided by MLB's Collective Bargaining Agreement, avoiding an escalating luxury tax.
Under George Steinbrenner's leadership, the Yankees posted a Major League-best .566 winning percentage (3,364-2,583-3 record) while winning 11 American League pennants and seven World Series championships (the most in the Majors). He passed away in July 2010 at the age of 80.
More responsibilities of day-to-day operations had been issued to Hal Steinbrenner and Hank Steinbrenner, the team's general partner and co-chairperson, as George Steinbrenner receded into the background, famously saying that it was "time to let the young elephants into the tent."
Steinbrenner's daughters, Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal and Jessica Steinbrenner, also continue to be significantly involved on a day-to-day basis between New York and the Tampa, Fla., facility that was renamed for George Steinbrenner in 2008.
"I realize it's a great responsibility," Hal Steinbrenner has said. "Needless to say, my dad is a tough act to follow."