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.
You can follow Leo Howell on Twitter for his thoughts on the Buccaneers, Tampa area sports, and other random topics.