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Volume 21 No. 2
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‘A pioneer’ who long preferred a low profile

Malcom Glazer in a 2006 photo
Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer, who died last week at age 85, took a downtrodden franchise in an outdated stadium and in less than a decade turned the club into a Super Bowl champion. He then turned from that 2002 NFL season championship and, over the next several years, amassed enough shares to buy Manchester United, arguably the world’s top sports brand.

“He is a pioneer,” said sports banker Sal Galatioto, whom Glazer hired more than a decade ago to scout potential acquisition targets. “He not only got [Raymond James Stadium] built in Tampa, but to go out and buy an English Premier League team like Man U and be able to do that is amazing.”

Glazer, who acquired the Bucs in 1995, became incapacitated in 2006 after a pair of strokes. Since then, the sports teams have been led by three of his sons, Avi, Joel and Bryan, the latter two who represent the Bucs at NFL meetings.

Glazer and his family were enormously private, famously having never given an interview about Man U. (Malcolm Glazer never even visited the team’s stadium.) Even in the face of fierce protests in Manchester by those concerned about the debt the Glazers incurred to buy the team, Malcolm, and then his sons, never sought to publicly issue soothing words.

But those who knew Glazer, who worked his way from taking over his father’s watch business at age 15 to amassing a collection of top businesses, said he was a man with a kind heart.

Galatioto remembered meeting with Glazer in Giants Stadium shortly before a Bucs-Giants game to talk about a potential acquisition. Galatioto, who is a dyed-in-the-wool Giants fan, said he told Glazer he was unsure which team to root for.

“He said to me, ‘It doesn’t matter,’” Galatioto recalled, laughing. “‘We are friends, and you can’t change what is in your heart.’”