After months of negotiations, Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer scored a goal Thursday, becoming Manchester United’s majority shareholder with a reported $1.47 billion takeover bid.
The Bucs scheduled a press conference on Thursday afternoon, and although the Glazers weren’t present, general manager Bruce Allen spoke on the family’s behalf.
“It’s an exciting day for the Buccaneers,” Allen said. “I don’t think there is any doubt that the global reach of this type of transaction will benefit, not only the Buccaneers, but our community. It’s an exciting day.
“Throughout the world, they are going to be talking about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tomorrow in every newspaper in the country.”
A statement was issued by Bucs executive vice president Joel Glazer, and in it he suggested that his family’s interest in seeing the Bucs return to the Super Bowl had not changed.
“My family and I remain enthusiastic and committed to the success of the Buccaneers as we enter our second decade of ownership,” said Joel Glazer.
Allen supported Joel Glazer’s statement and attempted to put to rest any thoughts that the Glazers might sell the Buccaneers.
“As far as what it means for the Buccaneers, as a football team, it won’t change anything that we’ve been doing.,” said Allen. “Just this week, while (the Glazer family) was doing this transaction, Joel (Glazer) and I were talking more about the Super Bowl bid more than anything else, which is coming up in a couple of weeks. It’s an exciting day, though, for Tampa.”
According to published reports, several thousand Manchester United fans have protested the Glazer’s takeover of the soccer team. Although the Glazers have not publicly commented on some of the fans’ fears of ticket prices being increased and key assets being sold, Allen said the Glazer’s track record for success speaks volumes.
“From our prospective, I think when the Glazer family took over the Buccaneers, the steps they have taken have been fantastic,” said Allen. “They made this a successful franchise on and off of the field. It was the laughingstock (of the National Football League). We have a world class stadium. We received two bids today, right on the time table, for a new facility. Everything they do for the franchise is to support the operators of it. They made one of the boldest moves in all of sports when they traded for a coach and won the Super Bowl. I think that’s the message the Glazers send. They have operated many businesses, all successfully, and I’m sure they will handle it the right way.”
Malcolm Glazer purchased the Buccaneers in 1995 from Hugh Culverhouse for $192 million, and it only took he and his family eight years to transform one of the league’s worst franchises into Super Bowl champions in 2003.
Buying the Bucs turned out to be a pretty good investment, evidenced by Tampa Bay’s sold out stadium and 100,000 season-ticket waiting list, and according to Allen, the Glazers had plenty of incentive to buy Manchester United.
“It’s the premier sports franchise in the world,” Allen said. “Everywhere you look, it’s the most recognizable sports franchise in the world. If you look at our Tampa Bay region, two of the top 10 sports franchises in the world are owned by gentlemen living here, the Glazers and (New York Yankees owner) George Steinbrenner. I think that’s exciting. I see a lot of Yankee fans here in Tampa, and I think it’s due to what he does in that community and the love for that team. I think that’s exciting.”
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