If certain things fall into place, the Glazer family could be the luckiest family on earth this year. Their portfolio includes not only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who will play in Super Bowl LV in two weeks. They also own Manchester United, who are currently in a dogfight for the Premier League title. If both teams come through, they will have seen their teams win the championships of the two most popular leagues in the world.
The Glazers get into sports
Real estate magnate Malcolm Glazer entered sports ownership in 1995, when he purchased the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from their original owner, Hugh Culverhouse, for $192 million.
Glazer made a difference immediately. It was he who convinced the city to finance the construction of a new stadium for the team – the very stadium which will host the upcoming Super Bowl. Under his ownership, the on-field product also improved. Starting in 1997, the Buccaneers entered the longest period of sustained success in franchise history. This period would finish with their victory in Super Bowl XXXVII, their only championship to date.
Buoyed by their success in American football, the Glazers — as urged by son Avram — expanded into the other football. Bit by bit, starting in 2003, they purchased shares of Manchester United, who were still at the height of their dynasty. By June 2005, their ownership of the club reached 98%, allowing them to squeeze out all other stockholders and take the club private once again.
In the later years of his life, Malcolm suffered multiple strokes, which ultimately led to his death on May 28, 2014. The day-to-day operation of both the Buccaneers and Manchester United have transferred to his sons: Joel, Bryan, Edward, and Avram.
Even though Manchester United have won five Premier League titles under the Glazers’ ownership, United fans have never been fond of the family who now own the team. Many supporters have the feeling that the club has become more of a business than a soccer team. It doesn’t help that Malcolm brought the club into substantial debt through the way he took over the team, forcing the family to float shares of Manchester United on the New York Stock Exchange.
In fact, there was resentment from the moment the family took over in 2004. According to Forbes, a crowd of 300 angry fans swarmed the Glazer brothers as they left Old Trafford after their first home game in charge. One fan shouted, “Die, Glazer, die.”
Tensions really started to mount after legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson retired at the end of the 2012-13 season. That was the season United won their 20th and last league title to date. When he departed, so did the championships. Since Ferguson left, no manager has stayed with the club for more than two and a half seasons.
That being said, at least Manchester United have consistently been near the top of the league. The Glazers’ other team, the Buccaneers, were not always so fortunate. Until this season, Tampa Bay had not reached the playoffs since 2007 and had not won a playoff game since that Super Bowl.
A championship double?
Both of the Glazers’ teams will have to overcome long odds to pull off the unprecedented “double”. The Buccaneers enter this week as three-point underdogs to the AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs, according to William Hill Sportsbook. This is not new territory for the Bucs, though. They have had to win three consecutive games on the road to reach the Super Bowl, including two in which they were slight underdogs.
Earlier this month, Manchester United held the lead in the Premier League standings. As of Wednesday, though, they have fallen behind their cross-town rivals, Manchester City. There are still three and a half months of games left in the season, however, and the title could swing either way.
If the dream somehow does come true, it would make the Glazers the first owners to take home both the Super Bowl title and the Premier League title in the same year. It probably won’t make them any more popular in Manchester, however.