Rejuvenating a Brand from the Foundation to the Future

ABSTRACT

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers franchise was established in 1974 as an expansion team, increasing the franchise count to twenty-seven teams in the National Football League.  After much community planning and grassroots promotion of pre-season NFL exhibition match-ups, local organizers were able to convince the NFL commissioner and owners to expand the league to Suncoast.  The Tampa Bay Buccaneer brand was then created with input from the community, Bucs staff and its miserly owner, Hugh Culverhouse.  During its inaugural season in 1976, the team played and lost all 14 of its regular season games, making history by having the worst regular season record in NFL history.  Just 27 seasons after the record setting first year, the Buccaneers went on to win a Superbowl Championship.  Just 14 years after winning the Superbowl and 27 years after the team being sold to new owners, the Buccaneers franchise is valued at nearly $2 billion despite having an overall losing record.  The content of this case study delves into identifying the characteristics that caused a brand to survive amidst nearly years of mediocrity.  The characteristics include a strong brand foundation rooted in community, dedicated brand ambassadors, and leadership’s commitment to winning.  The study also endeavors to explore the history that went into establishing and maintaining a brand strong brand foundation.

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