Every year as the NFL whittles down from 32 teams to fewer and fewer, and more eyes are put on those teams that survive. This year, one of the cinderella stories is that of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But who is the actual Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ owner now? Where did they come from, and what else do they have their money invested in?
Who is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ owner?
The Glazer family currently owns the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Patriarch Malcolm Glazer purchased the Buccaneers in 1995 for $192 million, a league record at the time. The previous owner, Hugh Culverhouse, had owned the team since it entered the NFL in 1976 as an expansion team. At the time of his death, records showed that the team itself was on the verge of bankruptcy, forcing the estate to sell its stake.
Culverhouse went a meager 81-194 (.295) as an owner over 18 years. The team went 1-3 in the postseason, only finishing with a winning record twice. While the league flourished in the 80s and 90s, the Buccaneers floundered under Culverhouse’s ownership. The team was largely considered a lower-tier franchise both among fans and players for most of Culverhouse’s tenure.
Glazer makes immediate changes
One of the first things that Glazer did after purchasing the team was to demand a new stadium. Raymond James Stadium broke ground the next year and opened to the public in 1998. From its opening in 1998 through 2009, every home game at RJS sold out, a sign that things were going in the right direction.
The team hired Minnesota Vikings’ defensive coordinator Tony Dungy as their first head coach for the 1996 season. They would go to the playoffs in three of the next six seasons with Dungy at the helm but couldn’t quite get over the hump. The team fired Dungy in 2001 and made a huge move to replace him for the following season.
The Buccaneers traded four draft picks, including two first-rounders, along with $8 million in cash to acquire Jon Gruden’s rights from the Oakland Raiders. The move was a risky one with a high price tag, but it immediately paid off. Glazer, Gruden, and the Buccaneers would win the team’s only title in 2003 at Super Bowl XXXVII, making Glazer a delighted owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The team thrives under new management
Malcolm Glazer made a concerted effort to make the team more fan-friendly by increasing gameday activities during his tenure. He also made the team much more visible in the community by involving local charities much more often than previous ownership had. As a result, the team has flourished under his leadership.
Tampa Bay went 146-158 (.477) under Malcolm Glazer from 1995 through 2013, 19 total seasons. The team had a winning record in nine of those 19 seasons. They went 5-6 in the postseason during that time as well, including the team’s only championship. Glazer took the team from laughing stock to a contender and helped usher in an entirely new culture for the team at the same time.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Owner transition in 2014
Malcolm Glazer suffered multiple strokes starting in 2006 and was in poor health for the last years of his life. He ultimately passed away on May 28, 2014. Upon his death, ownership of the team transferred to his six children. Bryan, Joel, and Edward Glazer have taken over the day-to-day operations of the team.
Both Bryan and Joel Glazer have been involved with the team’s operations since their father took over in 1995. This helped the team weather the change with minor disruption from a management standpoint. That being said, the team also hadn’t been to the postseason since 2008 prior to this season’s campaign. This is clearly something the current owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would like to change.
In the seven years since Malcolm’s death, the team has gone 45-67 (.402). The team’s only three postseason wins in this stretch came in the last three weeks. Under head coach Bruce Arians, the team advanced to only their second title appearance.
The Glazer Family Fortune
How did the Glazer family make their money?
Malcolm Glazer initially made his money in residential real estate, starting in 1956. He used his wealth to purchase a variety of businesses over the years, including healthcare facilities and television stations. In 1984, he founded the First Allied Corporation to house his many business ventures. First Allied has a portfolio that has included ownership in companies like Zapata Corporation, Harley-Davidson, Tonka Toys, among many others.
Glazer’s other ventures
The Glazer family also owns another sports team in addition to being Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ owner. Prior to his death, Malcolm Glazer acquired majority ownership of Manchester United, an English Premier League football club. The purchase cost around $1.4 billion and was somewhat controversial due to the amount of debt the team had accrued. The family currently owns around 83% stake of the team altogether.
Malcolm Glazer also founded the Glazer Family Foundation in 1999. The foundation is dedicated to assisting charities in the Tampa Bay community. Since its inception, the Glazer Family Foundation has donated millions in programs, tickets, grants, and other contributions to the area. It also donated $5 million toward constructing the Glazer Children’s Museum in Tampa, which opened in 2010.
As of 2015, Forbes listed the Glazer family as the 63rd richest family in America with an estimated value of $4.7 billion. Estimates put the current value of the Buccaneers at just over $1.2 billion and Manchester United at $3.1 billion, making both purchases terrific investments based on their returns.