Thursday, October 9, 2014

Done deal. Welcome to Pegulaville

Reprinted with permission from

Just about four years ago, there were rumors beginning to swirl about some guy that had an interest in buying the Buffalo Sabres. Then owner Tom Golisano had never officially put the "For Sale" sign on the franchise, but he was ready to sell. To the right person.

That "right person" happened to be a guy named Terry Pegula.

Pegula had just sold the company he founded, East Resources, for $4.7B, was flush with cash and he wanted to own a hockey team, most notably the Buffalo Sabres. He had just made a huge $88M donation to his alma mater, Penn State, to start a Div. 1 hockey program complete with a state of the art arena, and was ready to go all-in on a National Hockey League franchise. As luck would have it, the Sabres happened to be available.

It's important to note that the vultures had been swirling around the franchise ever since the league took control of the team in 2002. Along with it, rumors of the team moving, specifically with a possible purchase by Jim Balsillie, and him moving it to Hamilton, ON, constantly plagued the team.

Pegula had strong ties to the western New York area, most notably through his wife, Kim, who spent most of her childhood in Fairport, a suburb of Rochester. With the purchase of the team by the Pegula's, the Sabres were staying right where they belonged, in Buffalo.

Fast forward to March, 2014. Buffalo Bills founder Ralph Wilson Jr. passes away and the Bills are now owned by a trust which will sell the franchise.

As with the Sabres, the future of the team in Buffalo is once again up in the air.

Names like Donald Trump and Jon Bon Jovi entered the fray for the franchise. And so do the Pegula's.

A warning shot that across the bow of his challengers was fired when Pegula sold land associated with East Resources valued at $1.75B, which would be more than enough to buy the Bills.

Pegula meant business and in July when the trust was taking non-binding bids, he put the hammerlock on his opponents when it was said the he put in a bid of $1.2B.

Eventually the Pegula's would bid an NFL-record $1.4B for the purchase of the Buffalo Bills.

And today, the NFL owners unanimously approved the sale of the franchise to the Pegula's. Both Terry and Kim will own 50% of the team with controlling interest belonging to Terry.

When Terry Pegula's East Resources was just developing, he mentioned to a friend that if he ever had two nickels, he'd buy the Buffalo Sabres.

He found them, and now has two Buffalo franchises, one for each nickel.

Welcome to Pegulaville.

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