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Across the Pond: The Glazer Family's "Other Team" Worth $3.3 Billion

There are very few professional sports franchises in the United States with an owner as well known as Jerry Jones. The eccentric, filthy rich owner of the Dallas Cowboys is captain of a ship worth more than 2 billion dollars, according to a report by Forbes Magazine. It’s an impressive figure, but not surprising considering the brand name that the Cowboys have become.

Would you believe that the Buccaneers owners have the only team in the world worth more than the Cowboys? If you thought the Glazer Family only owned the Buccaneers, you’d assume there’s no way they could top the charts. But the Buccaneers owners also own a large portion of the most popular soccer team in the world, Manchester United FC. The Red Devils, as they’re known, are worth over 3 billion dollars, per the same report by Forbes.

So how can the same owners be have a team that fills Old Trafford every week and wins trophies multiple times per decade, and a team that never fills its stadium and hasn’t won a big game in over a decade? Obviously there’s a lot more that goes into a team than just ownership, but there is plenty the Glazer family could do to improve their situation in the hearts and minds of Tampa Bay sports fans. Residents of the Bay Area certainly respect the Lightning and Rays organizations much more than the Buccaneers, and based on the numbers, it’s certainly not an issue of funding. The first thing that comes to my mind when I see the value of the Glazers’ investment in Man U is “What if they turned those assets into helping the Buccaneers and the Tampa Bay area?”

The thing is… the Glazers do invest in the community. The Glazer Family Foundation has a whole array of initiatives to help various groups in the Bay, with several charitable activities that focus on giving back to youth in the community. So what do the Buccaneers lack that the Red Devils obviously have? What is it about the Glazers’ other team that makes them so valuable and so much more successful?

Soccer and football are different sports with different fanbases, and Manchester, England and Tampa, Florida are drastically different locations. Premier League soccer allows teams to spend as much as they want to acquire players, and Manchester United are a historic team and a dream location for players. The NFL has strict rules on salary and how players can be traded and signed, and the Buccaneers are a younger team with a history full of losing seasons.

So what is the verdict on the Glazer Family as owners? Clearly they’re not afraid to throw around the cash, as purchasing a large share of a team like Man U is a huge investment. They have a solid operation set up in Tampa, as well, with a nice stadium and great fan accommodations. They even helped bring in the pieces to bring a Super Bowl trophy to One Buc Place, something Buccaneers fans in the 80′s and 90′s could barely even dream about.

Overall, I believe the Glazer family could do a thing here or a thing there to make the Buccaneers a better franchise. But consider the facts. They have a world famous soccer team in their portfolio, and have managed to put them in a position to run away with their league this season. They know how to win, and clearly enjoy owning winning teams. Let’s see if they continue to put the money needed into the Buccaneers to bring in the players Tampa Bay needs, and to bring back the fans that Raymond James Stadium deserves.

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  • RVP

    MUFC were winning long before the Glazers. Also the Glazers bought United by putting them in debt.

    • Leo

      Absolutely. But there’s enough money going around for them to buy and pay Robin van Persie. They’ve kept the team in a good position, regardless of methods.

      • Paul O’Grady

        Sir Alex Ferguson has kept the team where it is, our investment isn’t that huge compared to rival big clubs, we have sold a lot including Cristiano Ronaldo a few years ago for £80m. The glazers are a parasite on the club, they obviously have their head screwed on business wise and they make a bit of money themselves especially from the personal loans they borrow from the club which I’m sure they don’t pay back.

      • Henry

        They only got RVP because he stated his desire to go to United. He did not want to go to City and Arsenals hand was forced as his contract was up at the end of this year. So either risk losing him on a free or sell him at cut price. The price tag was a steal and they have sold more than they have bought since they got to the club. Just look at Net Spend. They have bonds maturing in 2017 that will need to pay back and their flotation while improving did not make anywhere near what they wanted. Despite saying in their prospectus it was all going to be used to reduce debt, the dirty rotten glazers kept half. Take them back and keep them in Tampa, they weren’t wanted in ’05 and they are not wanted now.

        Having a party when a glazer dies,
        We’re having a party when glazer dies.

  • Alex Barnes

    Hi Leo. I really enjoyed reading this interesting article. I’m a Manchester United fan and admire the objective and sober approach of the article. I would love to see deeper analysis on the this subject and maybe get both United and Tampa fans to weigh in on the discussion. Maybe the Glazers could get the 2 franchisers to work closer together, complimenting each other and enhancing both brands. United do this with the signing of new sponsors every other week. Lets face it they (Manchester United would love to have more fans in North America).

    • Leo

      I think the Buccaneers would definitely benefit from a closer partnership with Manchester United. However, the act of making physical trips to the UK for games has proven to be detrimental to the on-the-field product for the Bucs. I am definitely not a marketing genius, but there would need to be a way to help bring the franchises together in a way that helps grow both teams.

      One thing I think is sorely needed is a more “soccer” atmosphere to games. More excitement and creativity from fans would help the Buccaneers a lot, and that’s something ManU’s fanbase is good at.

      In terms of sponsorships, the reduced opportunity for sponsorships in the NFL means the Buccaneers are hamstrung compared to the Red Devils. However, it would be interesting if there was a way for the sponsors of Man United could still find some way to partner with the Buccaneers by way of the Glazers.

      Plenty to discuss. I’d need to do a good bit of research to get anything written as to what the Glazers could actually do, but it’s a fascinating subject.

  • Paul O’Grady

    The article is clearly written by someone who doesn’t have a great understanding of Manchester United, I can assure you as a Man United fans the Glazers are hated, just to let you know how much this is one of the chants that get sung at games

    He’s gonna die, he’s gonna die
    Malcolm Glazer he’s gonna die
    How we’ll kill him I don’t know
    Cut him up from head to toe?
    All I know is glazers gonna die

    The glazer family haven’t invested a lot in to united in fact you could say the opposite they loaned the money to buy the club then transferred the debt on to the club, since they took over half billion pounds has had to go into servicing those debt out of the club accounts, to help with this ticket prices keep rising pricing out working class fans, I myself had to give up my season ticket some time ago, Manchester United have been a well run club for many years and had become the biggest in the world before the glazer take over and we have been successful since in spite of the owners not because of them, they are lucky the manager (coach) of the team is the probably the greatest there has ever been in any team sport and even now at the age of 71 he is still going strong, him been at the club is again nothing to do with the glazer family as Sir Alex Ferguson was hired in 1986 and is a club legend. So if the glazers where to walk away from united and sell up and focus on Tampa Bay there would certainly be no complaints

  • conor mufc

    Paul O’Grady has summed it up perfectly. Manchester United have maintained their position at the top DESPITE the parasitic Glazers ownership. They have invested nothing in MUFC.

    • Leo

      I knew the Glazers weren’t well received in the UK. I had no idea it was this poor a reaction. I appreciate the insight.

      • Paul O’Grady

        Are you familiar with the team FC United of Manchestet which plays in non-league football? It is a protest side set up by Manchester United fans who refuse to set foot inside Old Trafford while the glazer family are in control or simply can not afford and want a fun football experience at a reasonable price. I myself still go to the games when I can but I know people who are hardcore man united fans and still believe it or not support the team watch them on tv and celebrate if they win, used to go every game but has not gone in years due to Glazer ownership and now go to every FC United game home & away without fail.

        • Leo

          I had heard of the club in passing but had no idea of the meaning behind it. That’s quite the statement. Certainly something for me to look into more.

          • Paul O’Grady

            Cool, don’t follow American football just stumbled across this article by chance but I will keep a look out if you are going to do another.

          • Leo

            Yeah the super bowl is this week so I’m going to wait for that to die down before I post more about the Glazers.

  • Leo

    MUFC Fans, Thank you for your reactions! I wrote this piece initially just to report the news about the value of MUFC and give a bit of neutral opinion. But the feedback you all have given has made me want to look into the Glazers ownership of MUFC further. If are a Manchester United fan with an educated opinion on the Glazers, and wouldn’t mind doing an “email interview” about the owners, please email me at [email protected] and let me know you’re interested. Once the Super Bowl has passed I will want to do an article on the Glazers ownership of United and how it may be a sign of things to come for the Buccaneers, or simply indicative of the kind of owners the Glazers are. Thanks!

    • Henry

      read the andersred blog to get yourself up to speed.

      • Christopher Berry

        I live in Manchester,and hold a season ticket and I don’t dislike the glazers. I look at them for exactly what they are,very smart business men. Unlike Abramovich who uses Chelski as his personal play toy.The Glazers know where there involvement ends. They have never denied Sir Alex money for a transfer and allow him to do his job unhindered and employ the team he wants/needs to keep United successful. They knew when they bought us they were buying the biggest most supported team in the world, playing the most popular sport in the world. Otherwise being yanks why would they of bothered with a club in the North of England if the prospect of making money wasnt there.

        I don’t support FC United for me their is one club and whether its relegation in 1974 or the treble in 1999…. I enjoy being a red. If I had a choice we would win everything and Sir Alex would live for ever and I would be playing upfront with RVP. The reason for our success can be summed up in a few different words, but if I had to choose two they would be SirAlex and Cantona. And since 2005 we have been winning granted not all the time but most the time. I think we will look back on the Glazers ownership at Old Trafford as a Golden Period in Uniteds rich history. Does it bother me that a couple of yanks straddled themselves with 100s millions of debt (Which could of went wrong) and have come good. So good …we have a healthy team financially stable and becoming more so buy the day. It doesnt bother me one bit.

        And Ronaldo leaving for Real Madrid had more to do with the fact he wanted to go and play for the club he supported as a kid growing up in Madeira and not the £80 million pound transfer fee. I lived in Portugal for 10 years a lot of people there support Real Benfica or Sporting.
        As for the Tampa buccaneers I dont really understand the game you play why all the stopping and starting and use of protective gear like helmets. We have rugby here which is similar but free flowing and no protective gear in sight .
        My only advice is swap the ball for a round one, keep if on the floor and have a good game of headers and volleys or 5 dead as we call it in Manchester. After 5 mins you’ll begin to realise what the big deal is
        Take care.

  • Rob

    Leo, as a United fan for the last 40 years its disappointing to see you talk about MUFC’s success over the last 20 years without mentioning the man solely responsible for that, Sir Alex Ferguson, arguably the greatest coach in history of any sport.

    The parasite Glazer family do nothing to contribute to the success. All they do is milk revenue possibilities and then take the majority of the profits out for their own personal gain and to pay off a debt they burdened the club with. This money should be used to invest in the academy and on lowering ticket prices for the working class people of manchester who have supported the club through thick and thin for the last 50 years, who now cannot afford to go to Old Trafford, which was once a cauldron of passion and noise but has now been turned into a sporting equivalent of disneyland.

    Meanwhile Ferguson controls everything involved with the day-to-day running of the club, from awe inspiring team-talks to what to say to the media and what wages to offer players. From what staff to hire in all areas of the club to what formations and tactics to use and what 6,7,8 year olds plus to sign for the academy who can become stars in 10/15 years time. He is Manchester united. The only tiny bit of credit the Glazers deserve is that unlike other clubs owners, they have not interfered with any of his business, but that was an easy decision for them. Why would they when this man has been so brilliant at what he does for the last 20 years and everything he touches turns to gold. They just sit back and count the cash.


    • Leo

      Rob, I personally support Swansea City because of family heritage from the area. I suppose I could be considered a fraud fan because I’ve never been to the Vetch or Liberty . All that to say that I love the Premier League and I could talk soccer/football all day and absolutely love to learn more from fans in the UK. I did not address Sir Alex because I really wanted to simply focus on the business aspect of the Glazers. I personally do not care for United, though I do respect them. The same goes for SAF. I respect him but I am not in hurry to praise him publicly. Plus this is an American football blog and i dont want to focus too much on the “soccer” aspect of the story. I appreciate your feedback and will certainly be writing a followup article to address the concerns that MUFC fans have raised.