Glazers are latest to join NFL lineup

John Steadman

September 13, 1991|By John Steadman

Another name, that of Malcolm Glazer, wealthy Floridian, may soon be entered in the city's football expansion sweepstakes. Glazer has expressed what a member of the Greater Baltimore Committee termed "more than a cursory interest" but refused to disclose any other details.

No decision has been reached, although it is understood Glazer, along with his two sons, heads what up until now has been the mysterious "unnamed" group. But that's put into the past tense, their identity, that is, while further developments are awaited.

The Glazers are serious enough to have visited with the Greater Baltimore Committee and the Maryland Stadium Authority to gather preliminary information. If Glazer, who made a fortune in the manufacturing of mobile homes, before diversifying his business endeavors and taking on the ownership of television stations and nursing homes, even a toy company, decides to file an application, it will bring an important new player into the contest.

It currently appears that five or six entrants will officially be at the starting line when Herbert Belgrad, chairman of the stadium authority, lists the contenders and sends their names to the NFL expansion committee. This is merely a formality.

The countdown for the eventual selection of the two teams, which is expected to be awarded to Charlotte, N.C., considered the front-runner, and either Baltimore or St. Louis, won't begin until after Oct. 1, when all the interested cities must forward their 88TC resumes. Then, next spring, after the cut-list has been posted, more in-depth details will be asked for by the NFL.

As for the Glazers' involvement in Baltimore, the principals have not gone public to define the extent of their enthusiasm. If they follow through in an attempt to secure a team, it could be that Malcolm will be the wealthiest man to become involved since Robert Tisch decided he wouldn't wait on the expansion process in Baltimore's behalf and, instead, bought half of the New York Giants for $80 million.

The Glazers represent one of those patented "only in America" success stories that never become tiring. Malcolm was raised in Rochester, N.Y., the son of a shopkeeper, who died when the boy was only 15. It remained for the youngster to sell watches and other jewelry, an enterprise he carried on in a lucrative fashion at the Samson (N.Y.) Air Base before it was de-commissioned in 1956.

From that point, Glazer entered the real estate business before branching off into the establishment of mobile home parks and related enterprises. He runs the First Allied Corp., headquartered in Boynton Beach, Fla., and has reached such an exalted financial position it would seem he could fulfill the monetary demands of the NFL for a would-be ownership candidate strictly on his own -- without any assistance from minority partners.

However, it would be sound business procedure and good marketing practices if Glazer brought Baltimore people into the deal -- providing he was amenable to such an arrangement -- and it offered a workable and amicable relationship. The Greater Baltimore Committee, through Raymond "Chip" Mason, a past president, has been involved in helping the NFL bidders put their best foot forward.

Mason met earlier with Leonard "Boogie" Weinglass, who also heads a group endeavoring to put together a presentation for an expansion team. There's speculation, but only that, of Mason possibly joining with Weinglass but, up until now, no such announcement has been made. At this stage, there is ongoing jockeying for position with much clamor and conversation but little definitive action.

Some of the groups may decide, for personal and financial reasons, not to follow through with the effort. It's also hoped Baltimore will be on time with its official candidacy by the Monday deadline set by the NFL, although a league spokesman said a grace period might be permitted since the Sept. 16 date was selected for general purposes of finding out the likely candidates and not for any immediate interviews or screenings.

That unfolds later. Ownership lineups will not be outlined in their entirety at this time, merely the names of the prime. There could be a merger, even defections, but if the Glazers, with all their affluence, come in then the competitive struggle increases in intensity.

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