Billionaire Bucs Owner Malcolm Glazer Began as a College Dropout Who Ran a Small Watch Repair Shop

When the Buccaneers made it to the Super Bowl on Tom Brady’s back, it was a culmination of many things that began when the late Malcolm Glazer bought Tampa Bay in 1995. However, Glazer’s story went back long before that. Coming from humble roots, his story is one of intrigue, family feuding, and coming out on top. Years after his death, that mindset is still winning. 

Malcolm Glazer’s roots

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Throughout his life, Glazer, the son of Jewish immigrants, credited his parents with instilling an ethic of hard work. However, when he was just a teenager, his pawnbroker and watch repairman father passed away. As the eldest of seven children, he responsibly helped fulfill the patriarchal void left with Abraham’s death. 

“My mother would always say to me: ‘You are my husband, my son, my everything’ … My mother had a way of manipulating me,” Glazer said of his mother as reported by the Tampa Bay Times in 2005. 

Whether this was manipulation or motivation, it worked. Owing to his father’s work, Glazer dropped out of college and became a watch repairman at 21, opening a shop at an area military base. As the money came, however, so did his ambitions. Glazer didn’t spend his earnings willy nilly. He began to invest his earnings into real estate with his mother. 

When his mother passed away in 1980, Glazer had a falling out with his siblings that took 12 years and many court dates to bury. According to Glazer, this resulted from his younger siblings’ jealousy over his relationship with his mother. 

“I think most disputes within families are people getting even with people over things that happened when they were 10 years old,” he said according to Tampa Bay Times. “I really do.” Whatever the case, Glazer took that foundation that he and his mother built and expanded it to include restaurants, TV stations, shopping centers, and, of course, sports. 

Glazer as an owner

Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer before play in 2005
Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer before play in 2005 | Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

According to the New York Times, Glazer tried his hand at sports ownership for several years before landing in Tampa. After striking out on attempts to buy an expansion team in Baltimore after the Colts left for Indianapolis, he tried and failed to buy the New England Patriots, San Diego Padres, and Pittsburgh Steelers. Glazer even attempted to make an unprecedented team that called four different cities home. 

Finally, in 1995, he bought the Buccaneers. At the time, rumors spread that the team was going to move once all the paperwork was settled. But Glazer quickly put that to rest. Within eight years, the Buccaneers were Super Bowl Champions. Two years after that, Glazer expanded his sports empire by slowly purchasing a majority stake in the publicly shared Manchester United Football Club of the English Premier League. 

The move was not popular among the club’s most ardent fans. Still, it showed the same shrewd business sense that made a working-class son of a pawnbroker into a billionaire by the time he died in 2014. Now, seven years after losing the man who built the family fortune, the Glazers ride high again, as Brady and the Buccaneers are about to embark on another visit to the Super Bowl. 

Continuing the family legacy 

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Now, Glazer’s children run the family business, according to The U.S. Sun. Eldest son Avram took over the sports operation in 2005 after a stroke limited their father’s ability to work in the same capacity he had for years. He, alongside Joel, Bryan, Kevin, Darcie, Edward, and the rest of the family, are enjoying the fruits of their father’s labor as the team that swung for the fences on a 43-year-old quarterback will have a chance to add to its trophy case again. 

Malcolm may be gone. But his legacy lives on through his children and the teams he helped elevate to greatness. Now, we wait and see if the team can cap off its unlikely season with another win in the patriarch’s honor.