this April 13, 2013, file photo, Buffalo Sabres'
owner Terry Pegula and his wife, Kim Pegula, pose
for cameras during groundbreaking ceremonies at
First Niagara Center in Buffalo, N.Y. The Pegulas
took a step closer to buying the Buffalo Bills after
their NFL-record $1.4 billion purchase agreement was
unanimously approved by the league's finance
committee Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014.
PARK, N.Y. — Terry and Kim Pegula are one big step
closer to owning the Buffalo Bills.
husband-and-wife team that owns the NHL Buffalo Sabres had
its NFL-record $1.4 billion purchase agreement to buy the
Bills approved unanimously by the league's finance
committee on Wednesday.
is a very big step," NFL executive vice president
Eric Grubman said after announcing the results of the
committee's vote, which took place at the league's
headquarters in New York.
clears the way for NFL owners to formally approve the sale
at league meetings on Oct. 7-8. The Pegulas will require
three-quarters majority approval from the 32 owners,
including the trust overseeing late Bills owner Ralph
Pegula made a brief statement confirming the committee's
approval, but declined to go into detail because the sale
process is not complete.
far as I can say, we're not NFL owners until that vote is
approved, and we'll have no further comments," he
thumbs-up from the finance committee comes a little over a
week after Wilson's estate reached a "definitive
agreement" to sell the team to the Pegulas. The
agreement came a day after the Pegulas were among at least
three prospective ownership candidates — including a
Toronto-based group led by rocker Jon Bon Jovi —
submitted formal bids. New York City real estate mogul
Donald Trump also submitted a bid.
were on the market after Wilson, the Hall of Fame team
founder, died in March.
Pegulas have begun preparing themselves to become NFL
familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that
the Pegulas have relinquished their involvement and are
divesting their interest in Five Star Athlete Management,
an Atlanta-based sports agency that represents NFL
person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the
Pegulas have not announced their plans publicly.
Pegula acquired the high-profile firm headed by Todd
France in 2011.
prevent owners from being involved in firms that represent
Terry Pegula is listed as the Sabres owner, his wife
oversees numerous areas of the operation.
Pegula has played a key role in spear-heading the family's
purchase of the Bills, including spending an afternoon
touring Ralph Wilson Stadium in August. She is expected to
have a high-ranking role with the Bills, working alongside
current team president Russ Brandon.
Pegula has a net worth valued of over $3.5 billion, and
made his fortune in the natural gas industry. In 2010, he
completed a deal to sell a large portion of his company
East Resources' assets for $4.7 billion to Royal Dutch
has since wasted little time spending a portion of that
fortune on his two passions: Penn State, his alma mater,
and hockey. He donated more than $100 million to build an
ice arena at Penn State to establish the Nittany Lions'
Division I men's and women's hockey programs.
from purchasing the Sabres, Pegula invested $172 million
to build a hockey/entertainment complex called
HarborCenter across from the Sabres' arena in downtown
Pegulas then took a highly aggressive approach in their
bid to buy the Bills and ensure they stay in western New
York, amid concerns the franchise could potentially
relocate to Toronto or Los Angeles.
Pegulas were celebrated by fans attending the Bills'
home-opening 29-10 win over Miami on Sunday. Many fans
carried signs and wore T-shirts paying tribute to the
local businesses have even bought ads in local newspapers
thanking the Pegulas for their commitment to the Bills and
have the support of area politicians, including U.S. Sen.
the past week, I spoke with a number of owners on the
committee, including chairman Bob McNair, and made sure
they understood how serious the Pegulas are about keeping
the Bills in western New York," Schumer said in a
released statement. "I will continue to work over the
weeks ahead to ensure that the Pegulas' ownership of the
team, and the Bills' future in western New York, are
approved by the rest of the league."
Andrew Cuomo referred to the unanimous vote as an