Pegula Sports & Entertainment, LLC.
TypePrivate
IndustryProfessional sports, property management, entertainment
Founded2011 (2011)
Headquarters
79 Perry St Suite 400
Buffalo, New York
,
United States
Area served
Western New York
Key people
Kim Pegula, President & CEO
ProductsProfessional sports teams, sports venues, sports channels, music, restaurants
OwnerTerrence Pegula
Kim Pegula
SubsidiariesHockey Western New York LLC
(Buffalo Sabres,
Buffalo Bandits,
Rochester Americans)
Buffalo Bills
Rochester Knighthawks
LECOM Harborcenter
Black River Entertainment
MSG Western New York
Highmark Stadium
KeyBank Center
Blue Cross Arena
WebsiteOfficial Site

Pegula Sports & Entertainment (PSE) is an American sports and entertainment company based in Buffalo, New York. The company was established after multi-billionaire Terry Pegula and his family combined their sports, property and entertainment assets into one parent company. The company's assets include the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League, the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League, the Buffalo Bandits and the Rochester Knighthawks of the National Lacrosse League, and the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League.

The company is largely operated by Kim Pegula, Terry's wife, as president and CEO.

Properties

Sports teams

In 2011, following the liquidation of assets from his East Resources natural gas company, Pegula purchased the Buffalo Sabres and the Buffalo Bandits from former owners Tom Golisano and Larry Quinn taking control of their holding company Hockey Western New York, LLC for $189 million.[1] On May 17, 2011, Pegula purchased the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League from the Rochester Sports Group that had previously owned the team and reaffiliated the Americans with the Sabres on June 24 of that year.[2][3][4] Pegula purchased the Americans for US$5 million.[5]

Original Pegula Sports and Entertainment logo (2014–2019)
Original Pegula Sports and Entertainment logo (2014–2019)

In 2014, Terry and Kim Pegula placed the winning bid to purchase the Buffalo Bills, beating out a stalking-horse bid from Donald Trump and a bid led by Jon Bon Jovi backed by owners of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. The $1.4 billion, all-cash purchase was the highest price in NFL history to that point. The Bills had come up for sale earlier in the year after the team's founding owner, Ralph Wilson, died.[6][7]

Pegula Sports & Entertainment acquired the Buffalo Beauts of the National Women's Hockey League in December 2017. While not the first or only NHL owner to partner with an NWHL team (the New Jersey Devils and later the Minnesota Wild also had affiliation agreements), the Pegulas' purchase of the Beauts was the first time any outside investor had purchased a team in what is otherwise a single-entity league; all the other teams are centrally owned and operated.[8] The team was returned to the league in 2019 with Kim Pegula quoted as saying “Our main goal has always been fostering the growth of women’s hockey across all ages.” “We thank our Beauts players, staff, and fans for their support this past season. We will continue to look for ways to successfully grow the women’s game.”[9]

In 2018, Pegula Sports & Entertainment reached an agreement to purchase the intellectual property of the Rochester Knighthawks of the National Lacrosse League in autumn 2019. Rochester Sports Group owner Curt Styres orchestrated the sale as he planned on moving his staff and roster to a new Halifax NLL team set to debut in the winter of 2020; the NLL does not have restrictions on ownership groups owning multiple teams (as it is, the Bandits are owned primarily by Terry, while Kim, who grew up in Rochester, will have a larger role in operations over the Knighthawks).[10]

Media

Pegula Sports and Entertainment operates Black River Entertainment, an independent country music label. The label features such acts as Kelsea Ballerini and Craig Morgan as well as the related Black River Publishing and Sound Stage Studio all under the Black River label based in Nashville, Tennessee.

The company has control over the Western New York subchannel of the regional sports network MSG known as MSG Western New York which is on occasion also credited as Pegula Sports Network. The channel broadcasts all regional Buffalo Sabres games and Sabres content as well as Buffalo Bills content, local Buffalo radio sports show simulcasts, select Rochester Americans games, and high school football along with special programming.[11] The channel replaced the main MSG channel in 2016 on all cable systems across Western New York.

PSE also owns PicSix Creative which serves as the company's in-house marketing, design, production and communications services firm. PicSix also accepts work from outside clients.[12]

Real estate

LECOM Harborcenter was built by the Pegulas and opened in 2014
LECOM Harborcenter was built by the Pegulas and opened in 2014

The company is the owner and operator of LECOM Harborcenter, a $250 million hockey-themed building, which is anchored by the two rinks, a large parking garage, retail, and restaurants including a Sabres themed Tim Hortons and a Marriott hotel. The building mostly opened in November 2014 with the rinks, restaurants and parking garage was fully completed and fully opened in August 2015 with the completion and opening of the hotel and retail.[13][14] On September 10, 2019, Pegula Sports and Entertainment reached a 10-year naming rights agreement for the building with Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM).[15]

The company is also the arena manager of KeyBank Center which is connected to LECOM Harborcenter. Since taking over management PSE has made many arena upgrades. After the 2011–12 Buffalo Sabres season, 380 seats were added to the arena, mainly as an additional row in the 200 level, to raise the arena's capacity to 19,070. This number is symbolic of the founding of the Sabres in 1970.[16] In 2013, it was announced that all 80 luxury suites would be renovated over a three-year period. All suites now feature the Sabres blue and gold color scheme, 50" televisions, new carpeting, new furniture and gathering islands. Construction began on this project in July 2013.[17] In 2016, a new LED lighting system was installed and allowed the arena to provide better lighting while significantly reducing the number of light fixtures needed and reducing energy consumption.[18]

As part of the company's purchase of the Buffalo Bills, the team took over as a manager of the team's Orchard Park stadium. Pegula overturned a longstanding policy of predecessor Ralph Wilson's and sold the naming rights to the stadium to New Era Cap Company, naming the stadium New Era Field.[19] After New Era ended the agreement early, Pegula signed a new naming rights deal with Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York and the stadium became Highmark Stadium.[20] Pegula also brought stadium rock concerts back to the stadium after over a decade of absence.

On April 25, 2017, it was announced that Labatt USA and PSE had partnered on a project to develop the Pegula owned 79 Perry Street in the Cobblestone district in Buffalo into a mixed use facility to include a small test brewery called the "Labatt House", a restaurant called "The Draft Room" as well as retail, commercial and residential space. Labatt relocated its U.S. headquarters from Fountain Plaza to the building's second floor and PSE moved its headquarters to the building's third and fourth floor.[21][22] The restaurant, brew house and Labatt USA headquarters opened in November 2018, with the rest of the building completed in 2019.[23] Bakery 55, a Pegula-owned baked goods provider, opened in the Labatt building in December 2018.[24]

On June 13, 2017, it was reported that the Pegulas had purchased a building at 118 Michigan Ave across from the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino.[25]

On July 13, 2018, it was announced that the Pegulas had taken over the management of the AHL Americans arena Blue Cross Arena in Rochester from former operator SMG.[26] Soon after the purchase, PSE was criticized for monopolizing Blue Cross Arena for its own teams and evicting other events from the arena by raising the price of rent to a level most other entities could not or were not willing to pay.[27]

The company also owns Deer Valley Trails in the Adirondack Mountains town of St. Regis Falls, New York and Terra Mare, a restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.[28][29] The company holds a marketing partnership with Sear, a Buffalo steakhouse co-owned by Bills alumni Fred Jackson, Terrence McGee and Brian Moorman.[30]

Brands

Also under the Pegula umbrella is IMPACT Performance Cycle & Yoga, two high performance athletic training facilities which are based in Boca Raton, Florida and LECOM Harborcenter in Buffalo. The Pegulas own retail merchandiser ADPRO Sports which was acquired from former majority owner Ron Raccuia on August 21, 2017.[31] In addition PSE operates a restaurant in HarborCenter called Healthy Scratch, a brand owned and operated by the Pegulas' daughters, Kelly and Jessica Pegula, Jessica notably also being an internationally ranked tennis player.

The company also controls and manages the brand One Buffalo, a brand created by Kim Pegula after the 2014 purchase of the Buffalo Bills by the Pegulas.[32] Through a partnership with Southern Tier Brewing Company, PSE launched a "One Buffalo" branded craft beer that sells at all Pegula-owned properties and elsewhere in the region.[33] The One Buffalo brand has also been extended to a flavor of Perry's Ice Cream and premium cupcakes, both formulated by Kim Pegula, a pronounced fan of desserts.[34]

The company formerly owned 716 Food and Sport, a two floor sports themed restaurant which serves as the main business tenant of Harborcenter. In 2021, the Pegulas sold the restaurant to Southern Tier Brewing Company.[35]

Personnel

Russ Brandon served as the organization's President from shortly after the company's acquisition of the Bills until his resignation in May 2018. This was followed by the departure of several other high-ranking executives over the course of the next year; Michael Gilbert and Nik Fattey left in December 2018, and Bruce Popko (chief operating officer, who after Brandon's departure was the highest ranking person in the organization who was not a member of the Pegula family), Brent Rossi (chief administrative officer who had replaced Gilbert), and Erica Muehlman (a senior vice president) were all fired in February 2019, with Kim Pegula indicating none of the positions would initially be replaced.[36]

In April 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, an article from The Athletic by Tim Graham detailed and criticized PSE's termination of numerous employees in what was seen as a cost-saving measure, and also described "low morale" and a "toxic culture" within the Sabres and across the whole organization.[37]

References

  1. ^ Sabres sold to Pegula. WGR. Retrieved 2011-02-03. Archived 2014-08-08 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Wawrow, John (2011-05-17). AP Source: Sabres interested in AHL Rochester[permanent dead link]. Associated Press. Retrieved 2011-05-17.
  3. ^ "AHL BOG approves sale of Amerks to Buffalo". theahl.com. Retrieved 25 June 2011.
  4. ^ "Buffalo reunited with Rochester as AHL affiliate". The Sports Network. Archived from the original on 20 October 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2011.
  5. ^ Vogl, John (2011-06-26). Pegula is making big impact on Sabres. The Buffalo News. Retrieved 2011-06-26. Archived 2011-06-30 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Buffalo Sabres Owners Reach 'Definitive Agreement' to Buy Buffalo Bills". The Wall Street Journal. September 9, 2014. Archived from the original on September 13, 2014. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ "TERRY AND KIM PEGULA ACQUIRE BUFFALO BEAUTS". December 21, 2017. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  9. ^ Jay, Michelle (2019-05-08). "Pegula Sports and Entertainment to end relationship with NWHL". The Ice Garden. Retrieved 2019-05-11.
  10. ^ WHAM. "Pegulas to take over Rochester Knighthawks as owner departs". WHAM. Retrieved 2018-09-13.
  11. ^ Pergament, Alan (June 21, 2016). "Wide-ranging deal will keep Sabres – and other Pegula Sports & Entertainment content – on MSG". The Buffalo News. Berkshire Hathaway. Archived from the original on 2016-06-22. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  12. ^ "Pegula Sports and Entertainment launches new agency for creative services". WIVB. June 21, 2017. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
  13. ^ [2]
  14. ^ "Harborcenter Marriott ready to open by early September". Buffalo Business First. August 21, 2015.
  15. ^ "Call it LECOM Harborcenter, after naming rights deal". The Buffalo News. 2019-09-10. Retrieved 2019-09-21.
  16. ^ Vogl, John (December 27, 2012). "Only Single Seats Remain for Amerks' Game in Buffalo on Friday As Team Will Set Franchise Attendance Record". The Buffalo News. Archived from the original on 2012-12-31. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
  17. ^ "Sabres put a new shine on First Niagara suites". Buffalo Business First. August 16, 2013.
  18. ^ "Buffalo Sabres Enhance Fan Experience and Energy Efficiency at the First Niagara Center with Eaton's Advanced LED Lighting and Controls System". Esphesus Lighting. July 28, 2016. Archived from the original on 2017-12-22. Retrieved 2016-11-19.
  19. ^ "Bills agree to a naming rights deal for the stadium". Buffalo Bills. August 13, 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-08-23. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  20. ^ Williams, Charean (2021-03-29). "Bills rename stadium to Highmark Stadium after naming-rights deal". ProFootballTalk. Retrieved 2021-03-29.
  21. ^ "At Labatt's flagship brewery, Buffalo drinkers will influence new brews". The Buffalo News. April 26, 2017.
  22. ^ "LABATT HOUSE TO OPEN IN COBBLESTONE DISTRICT THIS FALL". www.psentertainment.com. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
  23. ^ "Labatt Brew House, Draft Room ready to open their doors in downtown Buffalo". The Buffalo News. 2018-11-15. Retrieved 2018-11-19.
  24. ^ Fink, James (December 5, 2018). "Pegula opening Bakery 55 inside Labatt's draft room". Business First. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  25. ^ "Pegulas buy another downtown building". The Buffalo News. June 13, 2017. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  26. ^ "Owner of Bills and Amerks will start running Blue Cross Arena next month". Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved 2018-07-13.
  27. ^ http://www.lonsberry.com/writings.cfm?story=4285&go=4
  28. ^ "Deer Valley Trails". www.psentertainment.com. Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  29. ^ "Terra Mare". www.psentertainment.com. Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  30. ^ About: Sear Buffalo, retrieved August 22, 2020
  31. ^ Pegula Sports and Entertainment acquires ADPRO Sports. WIVB-TV. Retrieved December 24, 2017.
  32. ^ Emily Guggenmos (October 12, 2014). "Pegulas announce One Buffalo campaign". WIVB-TV. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
  33. ^ Mark Belcher (August 14, 2015). "Buffalo gets a beer named after the One Buffalo movement". WIVB-TV. Retrieved August 14, 2015.
  34. ^ "Kim Pegula presents One Buffalo Cupcake". WGRZ. September 21, 2016.
  35. ^ "Southern Tier Brewing Company to take over (716) Food and Sport from Pegula Sports and Entertainment". WKBW. 2021-03-01. Retrieved 2021-03-02.
  36. ^ Fink, James (February 26, 2019). "Pegula Sports removes three executives". Business First. Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  37. ^ Graham, Tim (2020-04-20). "As Pegulas face business challenges, employees describe a 'toxic culture' at PSE". The Athletic. Retrieved 2020-04-20.