Bucs vs Chiefs – Which Political Candidates Do the Super Bowl Owners Support?

Sports and politics have long been intertwined, and the Trump/Biden years are no exception

The Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers may both wear shades of red on the field, but some of the wealthy co-owners behind the Super Bowl squads appear to prefer blue when it comes to politics.

An NBCLX analysis of federal and state campaign finance records shows members of both Kansas City’s Hunt family and Tampa Bay’s Glazer family are active political donors, giving millions of dollars over the last five years to candidates and political action committees.

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The Hunts donated $792,725 to federal committees – almost exclusively benefiting conservative candidates - since 2016, according to Federal Election Commission records, with most of their efforts focused on House and Senate races. 

The most politically-active Hunts are family matriarch Norma, who has given $481,100 to federal campaigns since 2016, and her son, Chiefs CEO Clark Hunt, who has donated $153,425 to federal campaigns during that time.  Between them, they helped support dozens of Republican campaigns, including those of prominent senators Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), and the late John McCain (R-Ariz.).

There were no reported contributions from the Hunt family to any presidential campaign the last five years, and Clark’s siblings Daniel, Sharron, and Lamar Jr. have contributed a total of just $25,000 between them to federal candidates since 2016.

A House Divided in Tampa

When it comes to awkward Thanksgiving dinners, the Glazer family, which owns the Buccaneers as well as the Manchester United soccer club, may be the league-leader, with brothers Edward and Avram Glazer donating millions of dollars in recent years to candidates of opposing ideologies.

Avram and his wife, Jill, have donated more than $2.5 million to Democratic causes and candidates since 2016, with a majority going to committees tied to Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden.  Avram also donated $25,000 to the Florida Democratic Party in 2020, according to state records.

Meanwhile, Edward Glazer and his wife, Shari, have donated at least $1.7 million since 2016 to conservative committees, most of which were tied to either President Trump, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), or the Republican National Committee, according to FEC filings.  The couple also reportedly hosted a fundraiser for President Trump in 2018.  

The only prominent contribution Edward and Shari Glazer have made in recent years to Democrats was in May 2016, when Edward sent $5,400 to Hillary Clinton’s campaign;  it was the same day he made $88,800 in donations to Trump-related committees.

For the most part, the four other Glazer siblings sat out recent elections cycle, but three (Bryan, Darcie, and Joel) supported St. Petersburg Congressman Charlie Crist (D-Fla.) with more than $27,000 between 2016 and 2019. 

Joel Glazer also wrote $10,800 worth of checks to support Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee in 2016, while Bryan Glazer cut a check in 2018 to support Republican Rick Scott, now Florida’s junior senator.  The FEC had no records of the sixth sibling, Kevin Glazer, donating to any candidate in more than a decade.

Football Teams Spend on Politics Too

The Buccaneers have also been politically active as an organization, supporting local and state ballot initiatives.  That includes $1 million in 2018, donated to the political committee advocating against constitutional limit on gambling expansion in Florida.

The Chiefs organization contributed more than $50k to political committees in Missouri, according to state records.  Among the recipients were groups that supported liberal and conservative causes, marking a contrast with the noticeably-conservative advocacy of team ownership.

A request for comment to the Buccaneers franchise went unanswered, while a spokesperson for Kansas City declined comment.  

NBCLX’s analysis did not include contributions to local political candidates, or state candidates outside of Florida, Kansas, Missouri, or Texas, where most of the Hunts and Glazers reside.  It also did not include players from the two Super Bowl teams, even though athletes also open their wallets to support political candidates and causes.

The sports industry is, at times, among the most active lobbying interests in Washington as well as in various state capitals, spending millions of dollars a year on lobby firms that advocate for specific policies and subsidies.  

And the NFL’s “Gridiron PAC,” a committee that raised more than a million dollars in the 2020 election cycle from team owners and top executives, also made dozens of direct 2020 contributions to key members of Congress – both Democrats and Republicans.  The Hunt and Glazer families have each donated more than $100,000 to Gridiron PAC since 2016.

While there have been various calls to boycott consumer brands over their owners’ political preferences in recent years – maybe most notably, the SoulCycle and Equinox brands, owned by prominent Trump supporter Stephen Ross (who also owns the Miami Dolphins) – there have been noticeably fewer calls to abandon loyalty to favorite sports teams, despite owners’ frequent forays into political causes – typically, conservative.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, team owners across the NFL give nearly nine times the money to Republican candidates and causes than they do to Democratic groups.