Steinbrenner’s Yankees Spending As Philanthropy

381058 13: New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, right, talks with New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner October 30, 2000 after the Yankees'' victory parade in New York City. The Yankees defeated the New York Mets four-games-to-one last week in the city's first Subway Series since 1956. It was the Yankees'' third consecutive World Series Championship. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

George Steinbrenner was widely known as a philanthropist, especially in Tampa, where he lived much of his life. That was the usual brand of philanthropy and his reputation is well deserved.

I’m positing something different.

Could his lavish spending on the Yankees franchise be a form of philanthropy? It benefited the public and philanthropy is a public good. His Yankees spending brought all kinds of division and World Series titles to New York City and gave fans enormous boasting rights.

Is that not a public good? Especially considering the team’s miserable condition when he bought it in 1973, when it was more a reason for embarrassment than a source of pride.

I don’t mean, “was it legally philanthropy,” or “charitable” as in the Internal Revenue Code. I’m not suggesting his expenses were deductible, or anything of the sort.

But since his money brought so much joy and pride to a city’s people, can we say his private spending was philanthropic? Weigh in and let me know what you think.

1 thought on “Steinbrenner’s Yankees Spending As Philanthropy

  1. His “investing” in a professional team was not anything short of visionary . . . a great investment that brought significant rewards, both to fans and to himself. It is comparable to any other success story in America where the business results created much more. Bill Gates did the same hting with his vision and he is returning dollars to non-profits, too! Let’s not overplay one man’s contributions to creating a financial success. More power to him for taking his proceeds and doing the right thing in his lifetime and as a legacy.

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