Buccaneers Are Sold to Florida Financier : NFL: Estimated $192 million is most ever paid for pro franchise. Team will stay in Tampa.

From Associated Press

Palm Beach financier Malcolm Glazer agreed to buy the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a record price Monday, winning a bidding war that featured baseball owners George Steinbrenner and Peter Angelos.

Glazer, who failed in five other efforts to land professional franchises, pledged to keep the NFL team in town.

He is believed to have paid about $192 million for the team with the worst record in NFL history, although the three-man trust overseeing the estate of late Buccaneer owner Hugh Culverhouse declined to disclose the purchase price.

However, the trustees indicated the sum was more than the then-record $185 million Jeff Lurie paid for the Philadelphia Eagles last year. Culverhouse paid $16 million for the club 21 years ago.


Glazer, 66, said he was committed to keeping the Buccaneers in the Tampa Bay area, which campaigned to keep the club when it appeared it might be sold and moved to Baltimore.

Glazer, who will run the team with sons Joel and Bryan, insisted in the sale agreement that he keep the team in Tampa a minimum of two years. The contract also includes provisions for a $35 million penalty if the team is relocated within 10 years.

The sale probably will become official in March when NFL owners meet in Phoenix. Twenty-three of the league’s 30 owners must approve the deal.

Bryan Glazer also said Coach Sam Wyche--16-32 in three seasons with the Buccaneers--and General Manager Rich McKay will be retained for next season.

The Glazer bid was believed to have included a base offer of just over $170 million, leading to speculation that the final price might have included a $20 million payment that would have been made to the trust if a new stadium is built for Glazer.

Three of the five prospective ownership groups bidding for the team, including the Glazers, had connections to Baltimore.

Glazer led an unsuccessful bid for an NFL expansion team for Baltimore 14 months ago.

Angelos, the Baltimore Oriole owner, submitted a two-tiered bid -- $205 million to move the team to Baltimore or $170 million to operate the club in Tampa.

Another group led by Baltimore attorney Robert Schulman also submitted a bid.

Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer, who had made getting an NFL team for Baltimore a mission, vented his anger Monday night at Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

“I want you to know one thing, our enemy and the guy who has hurt Baltimore and continues to hurt Baltimore is Tagliabue,” Schaefer said during a telephone call to a radio sports-talk show.

The governor said he understood why Ram owner Georgia Frontiere and Raider owner Al Davis snubbed Baltimore, claiming the pair did not want to upset Washington Redskin owner Jack Kent Cooke.

“This time I didn’t get my hopes too high up with the Rams because Mrs. Frontiere was always afraid of a suit by Tagliabue or Cooke, so I understood her. Al Davis, he was never going to really sell to us. But Tampa. We should have had Tampa,” Schaefer said.